Cori Bush joins ‘Squad’ members in opposing TikTok ban

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) leaves during a break in a House Democratic caucus meeting and leadership election on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 for the 118th session of Congress.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) is joining other members of ” the Squad” in opposing a ban on TikTok, as a debate over the video sharing app heats up on Capitol Hill.

“I oppose an outright ban on TikTok and believe that in order to protect people and address the underlying problems, Congress should pass comprehensive data privacy legislation, rather than target one company for industry-wide concerns,” Bush said in a statement on Friday.

The Missouri Democrat said she has not “seen sufficient evidence” to back up the need for a TikTok ban.

“As Congressmembers, we have not received a single briefing — classified or otherwise — on national security risks posed by TikTok, and at this time, I have not seen sufficient evidence to justify a nationwide ban,” she wrote.

Bush is the latest member of Congress to join a short — yet growing — list of lawmakers who oppose banning TikTok in the U.S. A number of those members are part of the progressive group known as “the Squad,” including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.).

Reps. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) have also voiced opposition to a TikTok ban, in addition to Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Some members have pushed for a broader conversation about social media concerns rather than zeroing in on TikTok, while others have underscored the platform’s value as an organizing tactic.

A large number of lawmakers from both parties and chambers, however, have voiced concerns about TikTok when it comes to national security, data privacy, misinformation and children safety, leading some to believe that the video sharing app should be banned in the U.S. House members raised those concerns during a blockbuster congressional hearing last week, during which members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.

A number of bills have also been introduced by Congress that would either ban the platform or give the Biden administration the ability to do so.

Bush on Friday said that while she has “concerns about the potential privacy and misinformation risks posted by TikTok,” she has similar questions about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other for-profit social media organizations — an argument similar to that of other Democrats who have come out against banning the app.

“We have seen numerous examples of harmful data privacy and misinformation tactics by large social media companies, and at no point has an outright ban on their platforms been considered until now,” Bush wrote.

She also argued that prohibiting the use of the app in the U.S. — noting that it is used by 150 million people — would represent “an unprecedented and disproportionate step given the lack of proper justification.” 

“TikTok has not just been an outlet for entertainment and self-expression for many,” she wrote. “It has also served as a platform for organizing, a home for small businesses, and a channel for building and fostering community.”

Tags AOC Biden administration big tech Cori Bush Cori Bush Ilhan Omar Jamaal Bowman Josh Hawley President Joe Biden Rand Paul Rand Paul the squad TikTok ban

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