TikTok creators and three U.S. Democratic Party lawmakers have publicly said they oppose ban on the China-based short video sharing app that is used by more than 150 million Americans.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday will testify before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee amid calls for blocking the video app over national security concerns. TikTok CEO will tell that the app does not have any connection with China government. TikTok CEO will tell that it never shared any data with China.
TikTok creators and U.S. Democratic party lawmakers have explained why a ban on the video sharing app will negatively impact Americans and their small businesses. Some fear that there will be lack of support from the young population because they use the video app regularly. Facebook and Google could not bring out a strong rival to TikTok for global audience.
There is a strong opposition in the United States at a time when several other countries are in the process of banning TikTok from phone users. India has already banned TikTok. But TikTok videos are widely available in other social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp despite a ban.
Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Mark Pocan and Robert Garcia and TikTok creators called at a press conference in Washington for broad-based privacy legislation that would address all large social media companies.
“Why the hysteria and the panic and the targeting of TikTok?” Jamaal Bowman asked. “Let’s do the right thing here – comprehensive social media reform as it relates to privacy and security.”
Still, far more U.S. lawmakers want TikTok banned. Critics fear that TikTok user data in the United States could be passed on to China’s government. Last week, TikTok said the administration of President Joe Biden demanded its Chinese owners divest their stakes or it face a potential ban, Reuters news report said.
Creators talked on Wednesday about posting videos of baking cakes or selling greeting cards to TikTok followers. Some held up signs saying TikTok benefits small businesses. TikTok says 5 million businesses use the app.
TikTok creator Jason Linton uses TikTok to share videos of his three adopted children in Oklahoma and has interacted with people around the world.
“I am asking our politicians – don’t take away the community that we’ve all built – a community that lasts, that loves,” Linton said at the press conference.
Pocan said a “xenophobic witch hunt” is motivating some in Congress to seek a TikTok ban. “Banning TikTok isn’t the answer. Making sure Americans data is safe is,” he said.
Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that TikTok is a threat that needs to be addressed but it is not the only surveillance threat to young people. That position “is deliberately missing the Big Tech forest for the TikTok trees.”
Democratic Senator Mark Warner said two additional senators backed his bipartisan legislation with Republican John Thune to give the Biden administration new powers to ban TikTok.
“Congress needs to give the administration the tools to review and mitigate the harms posed by foreign technology products that come from adversarial nations,” Warner said.