Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comes out swinging in defense of TikTok
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has picked a hill to die on and it's a lulu: Saving TikTok's hugely profitable U.S. market share.
Which is an odd thing for an avowed socialist.
According to Axios:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) first and only TikTok video has gone viral — and in it, she outlines her case against banning the Chinese-owned social media app as its fate hangs in the balance.
Why it matters: With more than 150 million monthly active users in the U.S., TikTok is one of the most popular smartphone apps in the country. Lawmakers are pressing forward with bipartisan efforts to facilitate a ban in the U.S. amid scrutiny surrounding the firm's relationship with the Chinese government.
Her video can be viewed from any device here.
Which is weird stuff.
In her video, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that efforts to ban TikTok -- hearings have been going on in Congress -- are dreadfully wrongheaded. TikTok is under fire these days for collecting data on Americans that could be shared with China, which has laws requiring it; embedding code to spy on 30 state governments; and just generally instituting mayhem, as I described here, here, and here. Nothing good comes from TikTok and in Congress, Democrats and Republicans actually agree on this and are moving on a bipartisan basis to get rid of it.
But not AOC, who released her first video, on TikTok no less, to defend TikTok to all those other "influencers" out there. She argued that since all social media companies collect data on their users, TikTik should be able to do it, too, because fair is fair, which isn't much of an argument when the data could go to red China, which reportedly is creating dossiers on all Americans. Prior to that video, she had nothing to do with TikTok, but for some reason, she opened an account there and decided to shill for the company itself. This is strange.
Her video was loaded with factual errors, or maybe intentional disinformation, too. Falsely, she claimed that the bid to shut TikTok out of the U.S. market is "unprecedented" which it isn't. Axios noted that a comparable website was shut out by President Trump for spying for the Russians. Trump attempted to get rid of TikTok, too, but the 2020 election cut his term short.
What could be happening here?
Maybe she really does believe that the problem is all of them, as she claims, but why getting rid of one is a problem for her rather contradicts her claimed message.
Or, as Axios suggests, maybe she is playing to the crowd, knowing how popular TikTok is among young people, with all its "influencers." Maybe she's hearing from her voters.
Or, maybe she doesn't understand any of this, other than, if Trump wanted it banned, it must be good and worth defending.
The fourth possibility is the most intriguing: Maybe there's some red Chinese-linked campaign funding involved. It could explain the sudden interest in opening a TikTok account and making her pitch on that matter, as if there weren't more important things on a busy socialist's mind than TikTok.
It could be any of these, all of them, or none of them. Why is she doing this? What does she have to win? What does she have to lose?
Image: Screen shot from shareable TikTok video.