While there has been bipartisan support for banning TikTok, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) claims that concerns about the Chinese social media app are due to Republicans’ “xenophobia around China.”
In an interview with NBC News, the Democrat congressman discussed his opposition to efforts to ban TikTok — claiming that the app is important because Americans use it to share “ideas” and “thoughts.”
“This is a space where these creators have found a platform to share their ideas, their inspirations, their thoughts, their voices with the rest of the country and the rest of the world. And why do we want to take that away?” Bowman asked. “Why do we need to ban a platform that 150 million Americans now use?”
Despite direct evidence to the contrary, Bowman claims that there is no evidence that TikTok is being used for Chinese espionage.
“There are many apps on our phones right now that are Chinese apps. And so the idea that, ‘Oh, TikTok is the boogeyman’ — it’s just part of a political fearmongering that’s happening,” he said.
Of course, while many lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — have stopped using TikTok after reports showed that the app had been spying on Americans, Bowman remains an avid user of the Chinese social media app.
Breaking: DOJ Investigating TikTok’s Chinese Parent Company for Alleged Spying on U.S. Journalistshttps://t.co/LrglViOuau#TikTok
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) March 17, 2023
The Democrat congressman went on to compare concerns about TikTok to supposed “fearmongering” by Republicans about “open borders,” and claimed that the issue was prompted by “xenophobia around China.”
“I haven’t seen any hard evidence that TikTok is committing some form of espionage,” Bowman added. “What I’ve heard is speculation. And what I’ve heard is innuendo.”
Meanwhile, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday amid continued scrutiny of the company by lawmakers.
While TikTok is already banned on all official U.S. government devices and on government devices in many Republican-led states, Republican lawmakers have called for an outright ban on the app in the United States — with the House of Representatives even going so far as to give the Biden administration authorization to ban TikTok on national security grounds.
That @POTUS won’t ban a social media company controlled by the Communist Party of China because it’s popular with young voters is proof of the influence Beijing now has over us
Our bill is the ONLY bipartisan/bicameral bill that would ban @tiktok_us pic.twitter.com/Kyr4512sX3
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 8, 2023
While downplaying the serious risk posed by TikTok in his NBC interview, Bowman claimed that Facebook was “a national security risk” because it supposedly allowed Russian collusion that “impact[ed] our election” in 2016 — a claim that has long since been debunked.
“When we look at American companies like Facebook looking the other way in 2016 when Russia colluded to impact our election — Facebook is a national security risk,” the Democrat congressman said. “We’re not talking about a ban on Facebook.”
“I think the more we learn, the more you’ll see people stand up and defend TikTok,” Bowman added. “Let me say this: If information comes out that clearly shows TikTok as a problem, I will say I was wrong. I have no problem saying that. I just haven’t seen that information as of yet.