Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) revealed during an interview with NBC News that he is against the initiative to ban TikTok from the U.S. and claims he has been shown no evidence that it is being utilized for nefarious purposes such as Chinese spying.
“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 exclaimed. “Why do we need to ban a platform that 150 million Americans now use?”
He added, “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.”
Bowman is reportedly a big user of the app himself and has quite a large following.
When speaking on Capitol Hill about the potential ban, Bowman concluded that Republicans are going after the app because they “ain’t got no swag.”
"Republicans Ain't Got No Swag": Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) speaks on Capitol Hill about a potential Tik Tok ban pic.twitter.com/Pg2EbrrdlT
— The Hypocrisy Files (@HypocrisyFiles) March 23, 2023
The statement is a bit convoluted given that many efforts to limit and ban the app in the U.S. have been bipartisan.
Bowman reportedly linked attacks on TikTok to conservative “fearmongering” surrounding an “open border” and the debt limit, as well as “xenophobia around China.”
“I haven’t seen any hard evidence that TikTok is committing some form of espionage,” he stated. “What I’ve heard is speculation. And what I’ve heard is innuendo.”
NBC reported that Bowman’s comments make him the closest ally of TikTok on Capitol Hill.
TikTok spokesman Jamal Brown thanked Bowman for his words, saying, “We appreciate the support of these members of Congress, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to building a safe, secure, and innovative platform that our community of 1 billion strong have come to know us for.”
This news comes as TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was made to appear and testify at a U.S. House hearing on Thursday.
During that time, Chew acknowledged that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, is able to access the user data of American citizens.
US TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew admits that CCP controlled ByteDance can access American user data. pic.twitter.com/woPqYqHD9r
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 23, 2023
Currently, TikTok boasts 150 million monthly users in the U.S., a reported 50 percent increase from the previous figure of 100 million in 2020.