As lawmakers continued to debate a now probable nationwide ban of the app, Rep. Jamaal bowman (D-NY) rushed forward to try and defend the social media platform TikTok.
Both Republican and Democrat legislators have voiced their issues about the recent allegations that the user data from TikTok, which is owned by the high-profile Chinese tech firm ByteDance, is able to be accessed by associates of the Chinese Communist Party. A well-known member of the "Squad" built of younger extreme Left-wing Democrats, Bowman fired off a list of what they claim to be benefits of the platform while issuing a press conference this past Wednesday surrounded by TikTok content creators.
"TikTok as a platform has created a community and a space for free speech for 150 million Americans and counting," exclaimed Bowman as part of a video that ended up being shared to the platform. "It is also a place where 5 million small businesses are selling their products and services and making a living."
Additionally, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) also chimed in to try and bolster the defense of TikTok this past week in the wake of calls for prohibition. "I share many of the same security and privacy concerns over TikTok. But over 100 million Americans use the app and many to support small businesses and important social causes," stated Garcia this past Wednesday night. "We should work towards a solution that addresses concerns and allows the app to continue."
A number of legislators have sounded the call for a full-scale ban of the TikTok platform, while many others have called on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is a group created to look into the national security implications of international investments, to directly force the platform and company to break bonds with ByteDance. TikTok promised in one recent proposal that was titled Project Texas to spend a staggering $1.5 billion on the protectiong of user data as a means to ensure that officials in China are not allowed access to user information. Despite this, Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States quickly shot down the proposal.
Additionally, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew came forward to try and defend the platform in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"I am well aware that the fact that ByteDance has Chinese founders has prompted concerns that our platform could be used as or become a tool of China or the Chinese Communist Party. There have even been calls to ban us or require divestment," explained Chew in his comments. "A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access. This is not an issue of nationality."