Over the weekend, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined TikTok to support the app as Congress works to ban it over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
What she failed to mention is that the platform’s Chinese parent company ByteDance gave $150,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in December, which she sits on the advisory council of.
ByteDance recently gave $150,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, of whose advisory council AOC is a member https://t.co/CJgrGZBr9N
— Nick Russo (@NickAndrewRusso) March 25, 2023
Fox News reported in February that “ByteDance donated $150,000 to both the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Foundation in December, its lobbying contribution report shows. It also transferred smaller amounts of $75,000 to the Asian Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies in December and $35,000 to the right-leaning Ripon Society last summer.”
“Our team in D.C. is focused on educating lawmakers about our company and our service, which is loved by millions of Americans and is creating economic opportunities for small businesses and individual creators,” a TikTok spokesperson told Fox News in January. “We plan to continue briefing members of Congress about the details of our robust and comprehensive plans to address their national security concerns.”
On Saturday, the Democratic Socialist created her first video for the platform, she also posted the video to Twitter.
Banning TikTok isn’t the solution to data privacy concerns. Instead, Congress needs to focus on regulating social media companies’ unchecked habit of collecting user data without their consent. pic.twitter.com/DASSeTeMCT
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 25, 2023
“This is not only my first TikTok, but it is a TikTok about TikTok,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the video. “Do I believe TikTok should be banned? No.”
“I think it’s important to discuss how unprecedented of a move this would be. The United States has never before banned a social media company from existence, from operating in our borders,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “And this is an app that has over 150 million Americans on it.”
The lawmaker said a ban “just doesn’t feel right” to her.
“Usually when the United States is proposing a very major move, that has something to do with signifiant risk to national security, one of the first things that happens is that Congress receives a classified briefing,” she said, which has reportedly not happened yet. “So why would we be proposing a ban regarding such a signifiant issue without being included on this at all? It just doesn’t feel right to me.”
Congress and the Biden administration have been discussing forcing the sale of TikTok or banning the social media platform over concerns that it is a national security risk.
U.S. senators have unveiled bipartisan legislation to ban the social media app nationwide — and the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday.