Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Targets Elon Musk in Off-Topic TikTok Screed

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg in her sights, even if she doesn’t mention the tech moguls by name. AOC’s new statement about TikTok asserts that all social media apps must be regulated equally, whether they are owned by Chinese communists or American entrepreneurs.

AOC comes out definitively against the proposed TikTok ban, asking in a video: “Do I believe TikTok should be banned?” She answers: “No.” The Congresswoman says it “just doesn’t feel right.”

Ocasio-Cortez also wants it noted that banning the TikTok app would be “unprecedented” and asserts that the U.S. government has “never banned a social media company from operating in our borders.” (Note: Until last month the U.S. had never shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the U.S. coast either — an unprecedented action doesn’t mean an incorrect action.)

Banning TikTok isn’t the solution to data privacy concerns. Instead, Congress needs to focus on regulating social media companies’ unchecked habit of collecting user data without their consent.

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 25, 2023

AOC says she’s against a TikTok ban because it would fail to address a larger issue of Big Tech’s personal data harvesting. She asserts that until better privacy protections are in place at all social media companies — including Mark Zuckerberg‘s Meta/Facebook and Elon Musk‘s Twitter — then Americans aren’t protected.

But as opponents like Ted Cruz note, Twitter and Facebook aren’t controlled by the CCP, and neither do they stand accused of delivering Americans’ data directly to the Chinese government and creating a national security issue.

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[Note: AOC is not the first to imply that Musk is as dangerous as the Chinese Communists — some like Congressman Matt Gaetz have asserted Musk is under Chinese control. And even Republican Marco Rubio agrees that a TikTok ban alone would be ineffective.]

AOC insists the government’s priority should be to protect Americans from privacy invasion by any company. But the congressional hearings this week were about a different issue: The hearings were specifically convened to address protecting America and Americans from Chinese privacy invasion and TikTok’s alleged work on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. These hearing were not about protecting Americans from Musk and Zuckerberg.

While there is an acknowledged bipartisan desire for both kinds of protection, in her video AOC equates the threat from the CCP and the threat from Musk, implying that their respective social media companies should receive equal regulation. Her opponents argue that China and TikTok represent a far more significant threat and warrant a much more drastic response.

In an oversimplification that isn’t wrong, conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham retweeted AOC’s video with this comment: “Civil rights crusader AOC stands with the CCP.”

AOC’s stance asserts that TikTok is essentially equal to all the other social media companies that collect “troves” of personal data with “little to no regulation” in the U.S. The Congresswoman makes no distinction between who owns the social media giants and what that information might be used for, which begs the question: would the U.S. government have shot down an Elon Musk spy balloon?

Note: For all the vituperation on display in Congress over TikTok’s data collection — and its potential as an avenue toward espionage for the Chinese Communist Party — lawmakers face a backlash if they ban the app, which reportedly has 150 million American users. The users skew young, too, which is why AOC felt the need to opine the issue.

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