Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known as “AOC,” openly cheered reports of teenagers and Korean pop music fans using the Chinese-owned app TikTok to sign up for President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and inflate RSVP numbers.
TikTok, which is popular among teenagers around the world, is considered such a security threat by the U.S. military that soldiers and sailors are banned from using it on government-issued phones. In October, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked the U.S. intelligence community to investigate the app.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also published a report on Wednesday that suggested that TikTok was boosting the views of certain videos where users flattered Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.
Nonetheless, Ocasio-Cortez bragged on Twitter Saturday night that “teens” and “KPop allies” used the app to purposely inflate Trump’s rally RSVPs. “KPop” is a reference to South Korean pop music. It is not clear who these alleged music fans or “allies” are.
KPop allies, we see and appreciate your contributions in the fight for justice too 😌
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
TikTok is owned by Beijing-based company Bytedance Ltd. National security laws passed in recent years in China allow for the Communist-controlled authoritarian government to access any data that Chinese companies obtain.
WSJ reported that Cotton and Schumer were concerned that the Chinese government was censoring content, and media reports have alleged that the app was removing videos that were “politically sensitive” in China.
Two people interviewed by the WSJ claimed that videos where they praised Xi had an uptick in views.
One, a 23-year-old Texas songwriter named TJ Asaday, said his account skyrocketed from 2,000 fans to over 90,000 after he made a 13-second video in April calling Xi “my president.”
“I’d never seen any type of growth on my page until I made that joking video,” he said.
On Sunday, CNN interviewed a grandmother named Mary Jo Laupp who claimed that she started the campaign for fake RSVPs on TikTok witjh a video late Thursday night, and it was viral by Friday morning. She is a former Pete Buttigieg campaign volunteer.
CNN’s Brian Stelter talks to the woman who organized the TikTok effort to distort expected turnout to the Tulsa rally: pic.twitter.com/dXpBTWid7R
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 21, 2020