News Update

Democrats take to TikTok ahead of 2022 midterms to sway voters

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With the 2022 midterm campaign heating up, more Democrats are taking to social media site TikTok in an effort to to reach younger demographics. The push comes amid warnings about the security of the popular platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. 

Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers not to use the app over concerns that ByteDance could face pressure from the Chinese government to share the data it has collected. 

The majority of Democrats supported a provision in the 2021 defense policy bill banning federal employees from using the app on government issued devices. 

Still, Democratic candidates use the app, which often features viral dancing videos, as a way of reaching out to young voters. 

A group of Republican Senators, led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote a letter to the tech company in June demanding answers on “backdoor data access for Beijing,” in response to a report from Buzzfeed. 

The company responded to the request saying the claims in the report were “incorrect and are not supported by facts.”

TikTok also announced that data of U.S. users will now be stored stateside, with backups stored in Singapore. 

Meanwhile, TikTok has hired a team of lobbyists with ties to Congress, according to the Washington Examiner. These lobbyists include former Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle and a number of congressional staffers with ties to leadership.

Shannon Longworth:

More democrats are taking advantage of TikTok as we hit primaries and midterms.

Ken Russell:

“Hey, are you registered to vote? There’s a primary on August 23rd and the general election on November 8th…”

Shannon Longworth:

It’s clearly an effort to reach a wider demographic—including Gen Z.

But other lawmakers are critical, as TikTok is, of course, owned by a Chinese tech company called ByteDance. The concern is that the Chinese government could have access to ByteDance data—if they wanted it.

This wave of candidates using the platform comes during lots of discussion about TikTok lobbying efforts in the US.

A Washington Examiner report today reveals both former Republican AND Democratic members of congress are lobbying for the platform. 31 former congressional staffers from both parties are also involved.

Last month, we learned that ByteDance spent a record $2.14 million on lobbying in its second quarter this year.

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With the 2022 midterm campaign heating up, more Democrats are taking to social media site TikTok in an effort to to reach younger demographics. The push comes amid warnings about the security of the popular platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. 

Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers not to use the app over concerns that ByteDance could face pressure from the Chinese government to share the data it has collected. 

The majority of Democrats supported a provision in the 2021 defense policy bill banning federal employees from using the app on government issued devices. 

Still, Democratic candidates use the app, which often features viral dancing videos, as a way of reaching out to young voters. 

A group of Republican Senators, led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote a letter to the tech company in June demanding answers on “backdoor data access for Beijing,” in response to a report from Buzzfeed. 

The company responded to the request saying the claims in the report were “incorrect and are not supported by facts.”

TikTok also announced that data of U.S. users will now be stored stateside, with backups stored in Singapore. 

Meanwhile, TikTok has hired a team of lobbyists with ties to Congress, according to the Washington Examiner. These lobbyists include former Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle and a number of congressional staffers with ties to leadership.

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