Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was silent when asked Friday whether she would support a bipartisan push to ban social media platform TikTok from government phones over national security concerns.
Fox News Digital contacted Ocasio-Cortez’s office multiple times Friday but never received a response regarding the congresswoman’s views on the issue. Ocasio-Cortez told her Instagram followers last year that she had created a TikTok account but was “lurking, waiting for my moment” to publicly reveal her handle.
“I have a secret. I started a TikTok account,” she said in a video in June 2021.
But TikTok has faced increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, state officials and federal law enforcement agencies in recent months. They have expressed concern that the video-sharing platform, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could present security risks and make users vulnerable to data breaches.
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On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that would prohibit certain individuals from downloading or using TikTok on any device issued by the federal government.
“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Hawley said in a statement. “States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”
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After the Senate approved the measure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that she would support including the resolution in the nearly $2 trillion government funding package the House is set to vote on next week.
Other lawmakers have called for Congress to go further. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., introduced their own legislation this week that would broadly ban TikTok from operating nationwide.
The effort on Capitol Hill to ban TikTok comes as federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, continue to warn about the close ties between the app and the Chinese government. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said the Chinese government is able to alter TiKTok’s algorithm to “use it for influence operations.”
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States,” Wray remarked during an event at the University of Michigan. “That should concern us.”
He added that China’s government could leverage TikTok to control data collection on millions of users.
State governments in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah have also issued TikTok bans for state officials.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday that White House officials aren’t allowed to use TikTok on their phones for security reasons, but wouldn’t comment on Hawley’s legislation.
Fox News Digital reporter Houston Keene contributed to this report.
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