(UnitedVoice.com) – The popular app TikTok has come under fire in recent years for its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Its parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese company that is subject to the rules of the authoritarian country. That means if the CCP wants access to the company’s user data, they will get it.
Last year, Buzzfeed News reported employees in China had repeatedly accessed information from US users multiple times. President Joe Biden recently threatened to ban the app. Congress asked the CEO of the company to answer questions on Capitol Hill. Influencers, with massive followings, protested the potential ban and a Democratic congressman stood with them.
Keep TikTok Movement
On Thursday, March 23, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew traveled to Capitol Hill to provide testimony to a House Committee. Before he spent hours defending the company in front of lawmakers, about two dozen of the app’s influencers also traveled to DC to lobby lawmakers.
The Keep TikTok movement made its way to Capitol Hill last week, and influencers tried to convince lawmakers that a ban would be a very bad idea. Claudine James, an English teacher with 5.9 million followers on the platform, was among those who traveled to the Hill. She told TIME that she almost didn’t go because she isn’t interested in getting “involved in the political arena.” She said that as the movement to ban the platform has taken hold among lawmakers, she felt the need to advocate for it. James uses TikTok to provide grammar lessons to people.
The group didn’t receive much support from lawmakers on either side of the aisle. But one progressive from New York is all in on their movement.
Democrat Defends Platform
On March 22, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) held a press conference on Capitol Hill to speak out about the potential ban. During his remarks, he claimed, “Republicans ain’t got no swag, that’s the problem.” The congressman maintained the GOP’s lack of “swag” is why they want to ban the platform.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman: "Republicans ain't got no swag. That's why they want to ban TikTok." pic.twitter.com/pop3P1tLQG
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 22, 2023
The problem with his attempted insults is that it’s not just Republicans who want to ban the app; there is wide bipartisan support to get rid of it because of privacy concerns.
Bowman spoke to The New York Times about the possible ban and asked why everyone was “whipping [themselves] into a hysteria to scapegoat TikTok?” The congressman spoke to TIME, too, he said that TikTok has less vitriol, hate, and racism than other platforms.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NY) disagrees. He flatly said that anyone who is supporting the app is “either too caught up in being a social media celebrity” or the Chinese government is brainwashing them.
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