Monday, June 17, 2024

Increase in pro-Palestine content pushed US to ban TikTok: WSJ report

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to ban TikTok.

The bill would look to prevent the social media platform from functioning in the United States or pressure the patent company ‘Bytedance’ to sell it to a non-Chinese owner.

The Wall Street Journal, in a report, observed that one of the major reasons behind the urgency to pass the bill could be Washington’s concern over the abundance of content regarding the Israeli genocide in Gaza floating all over TikTok.

Jacob Helbert, a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, told WSJ that the US Congress recently regained interest in passing the legislation due to the platform’s role in shaping public opinion.

“When lawmakers went public last week with their plans, the broad support for the bill caught TikTok by surprise,” WSJ reported.

Helbert explained that Israel’s war on Gaza was a factor in deciding the course of action and the swift change of attitude. 

“It was slow going until Oct. 7. The attack that day in Israel by Hamas and the ensuing conflict in Gaza became a turning point in the push against TikTok,” Helberg was quoted by the WSJ as saying.

A recent survey by the Wall Street Journal has found around 60% of US voters are unhappy with President Joe Biden’s role in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Only about 30% of respondents said stood in favour of Biden on the issue.

Anthony Goldbloom, a San Francisco-based data scientist, and tech executive, analyzed the data published by TikTok in its dashboard for ad buyers showing the number of times users watched videos with certain hashtags.

“He found far more views for videos with pro-Palestinian hashtags than those with pro-Israel hashtags. While the ratio fluctuated, he found that at times it ran 69 to 1 in favor of videos with pro-Palestinian hashtags,” the WSJ reported.

Moreover, Nikki Haley in a Republican presidential primary debate cited Goldbloom’s research and advocated for the TikTok ban.

All these show how the growing solidarity of US citizens with Palestinians and its negative impact on public opinion concerns Biden administration.

Amid the widespread disapproval of US President Joe Biden over his support for the war in Gaza continues spread, the majority of voters who backed him in 2020 election have opposed weapon shipments to Israel.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,490 Palestinians have been killed, and 73,439 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. 

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