Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) claimed Wednesday that supporting bans on TikTok is “racist.”
Speaking outside the Capitol alongside TikTok creators, Bowman rejected the claim that TikTok poses a national security risk, establishing himself as one of the few politicians willing to defend the application. Many lawmakers believe TikTok is spyware for the Chinese Communist Party.
“Why the hysteria and panic and the targeting of TikTok? As we know, Republicans in particular have been sounding the alarm, creating a Red Scare around China,” Bowman said.
Without evidence, Bowman claimed that TikTok poses the “same threat” to Americans as American-owned social media platforms.
“So, let’s not marginalize and target TikTok,” Bowman said. “Let’s not have a dishonest conversation. Let’s not be racist towards China and express our xenophobia when it comes to TikTok, because American companies have done tremendous harm to American people.”
Bowman claimed that banning TikTok would harm its users, hurt businesses that use the platform for marketing, and pose a First Amendment conflict.
TikTok Creators Speak Out Against Potential App Ban
The Biden administration reportedly wants TikTok to be purchased by an American company from its Chinese owners. If such an acquisition does not take place, TikTok could be banned in the U.S. An estimated 150 million Americans use the addicting, video-based social media platform.
The Justice Department is currently investigating TikTok for spying on journalists.
Meanwhile, banning TikTok is a very real possibility. Not only has legislation already been introduced, but a ban has strong bipartisan support. The bill would empower the Commerce Department to take action against foreign companies that pose a national security threat.
“We shouldn’t let any company subject to the Chinese Communist Party’s dictates collect data on a third of our population — and while TikTok is just the latest example, it won’t be the last,” Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said in a statement announcing the bill.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, where he faced intense bipartisan grilling about TikTok’s data collection and its purported connection to the Chinese Communist Party.
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Author: Chris Enloe
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