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But no ban? The delicate TikTok addiction of the Democrats

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could not have found a more suitable format for her message.

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But no ban? The delicate TikTok addiction of the Democrats

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could not have found a more suitable format for her message. "Do I think TikTok should be banned?" asks the Democratic congresswoman. She gives the answer in a TikTok video of all places: "No!" After all, other networks would also collect masses of data about their users, and it would also be an unprecedented process.

Ocasio-Cortez is thus opposing something that is actually rare in Washington: a tougher approach to the Chinese network Tiktok. The US government has repeatedly described the platform as a risk to national security.

The main concern is the collection of data and the question of what access the communist regime in Beijing has to it. Because TikTok belongs to the Chinese Bytedance group. Congress is already said to be working on a ban on the app if the Chinese owners refuse to sell their shares first.

But unity is crumbling, especially among left-wing Democrats. Before Ocasio-Cortez, MP Jamaal Bowman had warned against “xenophobic anti-China rhetoric”. His colleague Jeff Jackson also reassured: Some criticism of TikTok would also affect other networks. And Congressman Marc Pocan recently complained in several US media that evidence for the allegations against TikTok would ultimately be missing.

It is likely to be about more than just equal treatment for the Chinese: the US presidential election campaign is slowly beginning, and the app is currently more popular with young voters than any other. According to its own statements, TikTok now has 150 million active users in the USA.

That is almost twice as many as in 2021. The network is dominated by those under 30-year-olds who voted for the Democrats by a wide margin in the midterm elections in autumn - and who also had a particularly high turnout. In the end, Joe Biden's possible re-election could also depend on them.

How important this topic is for young people was shown not least in the past week. Dozens of TikTok fans demonstrated in front of the Capitol on Wednesday against a potential ban on the app. "Don't take away from us the community we've built," they placarded. According to reports, TikTok paid its own developers to protest on Capitol Hill. But the numbers speak for themselves.

Because Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is currently getting enormous popularity for her video. The anti-ban clip was viewed more than 3.7 million times in the first few days, and almost 700,000 users clicked on the Like button. "I'm relieved that you're with us," comments one user. "You're so right," writes another.

Democrats and Republicans stood together until the end. On Thursday, TikTok boss Shou Chew was met with deep distrust and rejection during a survey in the US Congress. In a hearing that lasted around five hours, the Democrats and Republicans emphasized with rare unanimity that previous steps to seal off US data from the video app were not enough for them.

The US government has welcomed a bipartisan bill to ban the controversial video app Tiktok. Democracy expert Prof. Alexander Görlach assesses the danger posed by Chinese espionage in the WELT interview.

Source: WORLD

Republican committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers had previously sharply criticized TikTok and called for the app to be banned. "TikTok monitors us all, and the Chinese Communist Party can use that as a tool to manipulate all of America," the MP said, addressing Chew: "Their platform should be banned."

US President Joe Biden's administration has also threatened to ban the app outright on national security grounds unless it decouples from Bytedance and is sold. In the meantime there have been negotiations with the US software group Microsoft, and Oracle was also considered a possible buyer at times.

China's Commerce Ministry, meanwhile, said it would "strongly oppose" a forced sale of TikTok. Any attempt to force such a sale would undermine investor confidence in the US.

And TikTok itself rejects the allegations of the Americans. When asked, Chef Chew had to admit that employees of the parent company Bytedance currently still have access to US user data. But the company is not owned by the Chinese government, nor is it controlled by the Chinese government.

The fact that some politicians are now joining forces with TikTok fans is met with harsh criticism from the rest. "Anyone who defends TikTok is either too busy being a social media celebrity or has been brainwashed by Chinese government propaganda," raged Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a moderate Democrat from New Jersey . "Both endanger our national security."

What does Gottheimer mean by that? A TikTok ban would also directly disadvantage some US politicians. They see the platform as the best way to reach young voters. Numerous members of parliament have invested in their TikTok appearance, some of them are followed by millions of users. Jeff Jackson, for example, with his 1.5 million followers, is the largest TikTok politician in the USA.

TV host and Republican Mehmet Oz, who calls himself Dr. Oz names and narrowly lost the Senator election in Pennsylvania, has around 1.2 million fans. Katie Porter, a Democrat from California, reaches half a million people across her two channels combined. And Ed Markey, the 76-year-old Massachusetts Senator, is attracting particular attention with occasional singing numbers on TikTok.

The “Alliance for Securing Democracy”, a non-partisan initiative at the German Marshall Fund, highlighted the extent to which the Democratic Party uses the Chinese platform for its own purposes in the midterm elections last autumn.

Almost half of the Democratic candidates for a Senate seat had a TikTok account at the time, while only twelve percent of the Republicans had one. In the House of Representatives election, 30 percent of Democratic candidates were registered on the platform, compared to only 11 percent of Republican candidates.

And even the Democratic Party in the US has a TikTok account. Their videos mainly focus on their own political successes and criticize republican opponents in a satirical way.

On Tuesday evening (local time), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez followed up with a second video on TikTok. However, it wasn't about the platform itself. It used its reach on the network to rail against the American oil industry.

"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 5 a.m. with the financial journalists from WELT. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.

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