During the second GOP debate on Wednesday night, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley criticized her fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy for his stance on TikTok.
Ramaswamy’s stance: Ramaswamy, who had previously criticized TikTok, explained his decision to join the platform as a means of reaching young Americans despite the app being banned on government-issued devices due to concerns about its ties to the Chinese government.
“Part of how we win elections is reaching the next generation of young Americans where we are,” Ramaswamy said, adding that he believes children under 16 should be banned from “addictive” social media.
Haley’s response: Haley expressed concern about the app’s potential risks due to its ties to the Chinese government. She asserted that trust could not be placed in TikTok and advocated for its exclusion from children’s lives, leading to a heated exchange between the two candidates.
“This is infuriating, because TikTok is one of the most dangerous social media apps that we could have. Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say,” Haley told Ramaswamy during the debate.
“One hundred fifty million people are on TikTok. That means they can get your contacts, they can get your financial information, they can get your emails, they can get your text messages, they can get all of these things. China knows exactly what they’re doing. We can’t trust you. We can’t trust you. We can’t have TikTok in our kids’ lives. We need to ban it.”
TikTok bans: The debate occurred amid ongoing discussions about whether TikTok should be banned in the U.S. over fears of data sharing with the Chinese government. More than 30 states have already banned TikTok on state-owned devices over security concerns.