- In recent weeks, members of US Congress have called for a ban on China-based social media platform TikTok, arguing it hosts anti-Israel and anti-Jewish content.1
- On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to ban TikTok, citing a Harvard CAPS Harris poll that found that Americans aged between 18 and 24 held a favorable view of Hamas' actions in the Middle East.2
- Alleging that the youth's opinion on the Israel-Hamas war was in line with the Chinese government's foreign policy preferences, Hawley said, 'Political manipulation is business as usual for TikTok.'3
- This comes after venture capitalist and former Tinder executive Jeff Morris Jr. wrote a series of posts on X last month alleging that TikTok was pushing young Americans to support Palestinians and Hamas.4
- However, TikTok's parent company ByteDance has refuted these allegations, claiming to have removed 925K allegedly hateful and violent videos — including those related to content promoting Hamas in the conflict — for violating its community guidelines.5
- Calls for a ban on TikTok and sanctions against its China-based parent company ByteDance over national security concerns have been a hot topic among legislators for years, with as many as 30 states and the federal government having barred federal employees from accessing the app on federal devices.6
- Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Caller. TikTok is a hotspot for propaganda aimed at tearing the US apart, and it must be stopped. Banning the platform isn't about free speech; it's banning Beijing from spying on Americans and using young minds to infiltrate its own interests.
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Politico. Right-leaning politicians are using TikTok as a stand-in for the PRC in search of a bogeyman, ascribing what could just be generational differences to a so-called Chinese plot. While national security concerns should be taken seriously, these latest calls bear all the signs of an attempt to rile up emotions and win support.
- Libertarian narrative, as provided by The Hill. The answer to TikTok isn't censorship. Rather, those who are concerned about the messages proliferating on the app should counter them with more speech and education instead of government intervention.