No to TikTok Ban: Was AOC Bought Out?

While the US Senate pushes to ban TikTok, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released her first video on the Chinese-owned video streaming app on Saturday to talk about why she thinks the app shouldn’t be banned in the US.

In the now-viral video, the New York Democrat talks about how banning the app does not really “address the core of the issue.”

Ocasio-Cortez emphasized social media companies like Meta collect “troves of deeply personal data,” and that Americans are unprotected because there are no significant data or privacy protection laws in the country, unlike the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

“So to me, the solution here is not to ban an individual company — but to actually protect Americans from this kind of egregious data harvesting that companies can do without your significant ability to say no,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

While Ocasio-Cortez wants a system that would protect all Americans from all social media platforms collecting troves of personal data, many in the government have noted that the concern is more about China getting access to US data through the app. 

The TikTok ban therefore effectively falls under the same category as the Chinese spy balloons, and we all know what happened to those. But Ocasio-Cortez downplays the perceived danger, saying that it is not yet a national security risk because Congress has yet to receive a classified briefing about it. 

“So why would we be proposing a ban regarding such a significant issue without being clued in on this at all? It just doesn’t feel right to me.”

The Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker account on Twitter offered one other possible reason why it doesn’t feel right to Ocasio-Cortez. According to lobbying contributions records retrieved by the account, TikTok owner ByteDance Inc donated $150,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), where Ocasio-Cortez serves as a member of the advisory board.

The contribution was made in December 2022. Based on the screenshot, ByteDance also donated $150,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation around the same time, and $35,000 to the Ripon Society in July. 

Information for this briefing was found via AOC on TikTok, Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker on Twitter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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