ByteDance, the parent company of social media platform TikTok, gave $150,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in December, just before Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., abruptly chose to back the media behemoth. TikTok has been accused of spying on users and gathering data for China.
Ocasio-Cortez, who just joined TikTok, issued a video statement Saturday criticizing the efforts by Congress to ban the platform. Gateway Pundit reports that the CCP-backed company contributed significant funds to the Hispanic Caucus, where AOC serves on the advisory council.
ByteDance also made donations to the Congressional Black Caucus, the Asian Pacific Center for Congressional Research, and the Ripon Society totaling $150,000.
A TikTok representative said that their staff in D.C. is focused on teaching politicians about the company and TikTok services, which millions of Americans adore. TikTok said they provide economic possibilities for small companies and individual artists. According to the TikTok representative, they intend to keep updating members of Congress on the specifics of their strong and comprehensive measures to address U.S. national security concerns.
Last weekend, AOC submitted her first TikTok, claiming that TikTok’s data-gathering techniques are unlikely to pose a national security risk because a week is enough time to figure that all out.
According to AOC, Congress is usually given a classified briefing before the United States proposes a major move that poses a significant risk to national security. Although it is unclear if she would have access to such a briefing in her current position, she insisted that it had yet to occur.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned Congress and others about the dangers of TikTok being used to spy on Americans, many of whom were vulnerable adolescents at the time. In addition, the corporation has acknowledged eavesdropping on U.S. journalists.
AOC was the second “Squad” member to support the corporation, claiming it did not represent a national security risk. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, went even further in dismissing the app’s threat.
According to Bowman, TikTok as a platform has created a community and a space for free speech for 150 million Americans and counting. Bowman added that it is also a place where 5 million small businesses are selling their products and services and making a living.
Bowman said he hadn’t seen any strong proof that TikTok was engaging in some type of espionage. His comment came a few days before AOC’s announcement, and Bowman said all he heard was a mix of supposition and innuendo. Bowman also dismissed TikTok criticism as “xenophobia” and “fearmongering,” alleging Republicans disliked it because they lacked “swag.”