Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy Joins TikTok After Previously Calling It 'Digital Fentanyl'
On Wednesday, businessman and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy joined the Chinese-owned app TikTok, which he referred to as 'digital fentanyl' just a few days earlier. It all started only five days ago in a town hall in Okoboji, Iowa. A very large part of his campaign focused on the dangers presented by China, and he even said, "This is Xi Jinping’s bet — you’re addicted to me." He further said to the Iowans, "You’re addicted to the fentanyl that I’m pumping across their southern border. You’re addicted to the digital fentanyl that I’m putting in your kids’ hands."
In a 'competition' that also includes numerous contenders in their 70s, such as former President Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Ramaswamy, at age 37, is the youngest person running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. Moreover, many Republicans see China's influence operations as a serious danger to national security, so their presidential candidates willingly lost access to the app's millions of users. However, Ramaswamy chose to become a part of this platform and claimed YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul encouraged him to join the China-owned social media network so that he could reach young voters.
Vivek Ramaswamy is doing TikTok dances with Jake Paul pic.twitter.com/uAPs2RGfng— Censored Men (@CensoredMen) September 14, 2023
According to reports, the global sensation and social media app TikTok is gradually leading a 'parallel life' in the United States. On one hand, Chinese platforms such as this could hold enormous financial returns for their American investors, despite escalating prohibitions and outright scorn from politicians. Investors from America have been pouring more money into Chinese firms like TikTok's parent company, ByteDance. In fact, some data suggests that in 2022, Chinese firms raised over $9 billion in venture finance, most of it from American investors. On the flip side, due to privacy concerns, TikTok has been prohibited on government devices in almost half of the states in the US, and requests have been made in Washington for a complete ban.
Ramaswamy, the GOP presidential hopeful, defended his decision to join the app and went on to say, "In retrospect, it was a little bit of an old-fashioned decision to say that there’s an entire mode of communicating with young people that I was going to turn off." However, he is still worried about the impact this app has on teens 'that are using this product that they probably shouldn’t be.' In Ramaswamy's opinion, the only way to halt the threat that TikTok poses to American society is for him to become president.
Had dinner with @JakePaul on Sunday. He changed my mind and convinced me to join TikTok. Yes, kids under age 16 shouldn’t be using it, but the fact is that many young voters are & we’re not going to change this country without winning. We can’t just talk about the importance of…— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) September 13, 2023
Ramaswamy spoke in May in favor of raising the voting age in the United States to 25 for all citizens unless they have served for a minimum of six months in the armed forces or as a first responder or have passed the same citizenship exam as those applying to become naturalized citizens. He said his plan "can create a sense of shared purpose and responsibility amongst young Americans to become educated citizens" and that the "absence of national pride is a serious threat to the future of our country." He also admitted, "I understand not everyone will like this proposal and that it will take persuasion to convince many of its merits, but I’m ready to take that on."
More from Inquisitr