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Saturday, May 18, 2024

$150K Donation Linked to AOC’s Sudden Decision to Join TikTok

'It just doesn’t feel right to me...'

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) ByteDance, parent company of social media platform TikTok, donated $150,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in December—shortly before Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., suddenly decided to throw her support behind the media giant, which has been accused of spying on users and harvesting data for China.

Ocasio–Cortez, who recently joined TikTok, released a video statement Saturday attacking efforts to ban the platform.

She instead claimed that TikTok—along with all other social media companies—should be more highly regulated when it comes to data-collection practices.

According to the Gateway Pundit, this sudden commendation came after the CCP-supported company donated significant funds to the Hispanic Caucus, where AOC sits on the advisory council.

ByteDance also donated $150,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus, $75,000 to the Asian Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies, and $75,000 to the Ripon Society.

“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 said. “We plan to continue briefing members of Congress about the details of our robust and comprehensive plans to address their national security concerns.”

AOC posted her first TikTok this weekend, where she waxed on about greater data regulation and argued that TikTok’s data harvesting practices are likely not a national security concern.

“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.

Although it is unclear whether she, in her current capacity, would have access to any such briefing, she maintained that it had yet to happen. “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.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray has issued warnings to Congress and elsewhere relaying his concerns over the danger of TikTok being used to spy on Americans—many of then vulnerable teenagers.

The company itself has also admitted to spying on American journalists.

AOC was the second “Squad” member to come out in favor of the company while denying it posed a national security threat.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, went even farther in downplaying any threat whatsoever from the app.

“I haven’t seen any hard evidence that TikTok is committing some form of espionage,” he said several days prior to AOC’s statement. “What I’ve heard is speculation, and what I’ve heard is innuendo.”

Bowman also went on to dismiss criticism of TikTok as “xenophobia” and “fearmongering,” while claiming Republicans opposed it because they lacked “swag.”

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