Dems Fear TikTok Ban Could Makes The Kids Mad

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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Democratic lawmakers and activists believe young voters would become alienated from the political process if Congress bans the China-owned social media platform TikTok from operating in the U.S.

Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a progressive member of “The Squad,” is leading the party’s fight against banning TikTok. He believes the bipartisan support for banning TikTok is “xenophobic” and it would weaken Democrat support from young voters. (RELATED: Dem Operatives Defend Chinese-Owned TikTok As A ‘Valuable’ Political Weapon)

“Banning TikTok? I mean, are you trying to engage young voters or not? What are we doing here?” Bowman said to NBC News. “They will absolutely stay at home. There’s no question about that.”

Bowman held a press conference on Wednesday with more than 20 TikTok influencers who oppose banning the platform. He was joined by Democratic Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Robert Garcia of California, per Axios.

“I think we’ve sort of reached two conclusions here. The first is that the politics of this are very rough. And the second is that all of that has to be set aside because of non-hyperbolic national security concerns,” a Democratic lawmaker told NBC on condition of anonymity.

Democratic activist Aidan Kohn-Murphy, founder of the group “Gen Z for Change,” formerly called “TikTok for Biden,” echoed Bowman’s concerns in an interview with NBC. “I’m not defending TikTok as a company, I’m defending my entire generation,” he said. “If they went ahead with banning TikTok, it would feel like a slap in the face to a lot of young Americans,” he added.

The platform is owned by ByteDance, a China-based tech firm with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok pledged to create a U.S. subsidiary to protect U.S. user data from being accessed by China-based employees, who allegedly monitored American users on multiple occasions, Reuters reported. TikTok’s alleged surveillance of American users, including Forbes journalist Emily Baker-White, is being investigated by the FBI and Department of Justice.

TikTok has an estimated 150 million users, NBC reported. Minors aged four to 18 use the app for an average of 107 minutes per day, a survey measured.