Mitt Romney admits TikTok ban was about CENSORING pro-Palestine content
05/09/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) recently admitted that the underlying motivation behind the congressional push to ban TikTok in America is to censor the "overwhelming" pro-Palestinian content on the popular Chinese-owned social media platform.

Speaking at the McCain Institute’s 2024 Sedona Forum alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Romney stated that the bipartisan support for the ban stems from the proliferation of pro-Palestinian content on TikTok.

Romney also claimed that the surge in Palestinian content on TikTok has contributed to reshaping public narratives and garnering widespread advocacy for Palestine. (Related: TikTok ban bill could lead to broader surveillance and censorship by the U.S. government.)

"Some wonder why there was such overwhelming support for us to shut down potentially TikTok or other entities of that nature. If you look at the postings on TikTok and the number of mentions of Palestinians relative to other social media sites, it's overwhelmingly so among TikTok broadcasts," said Romney.

Romney argued that the emotional images, reports and footage of Israel's indiscriminate bombing of Gaza and Palestinian territories circulating on social media platforms, especially on TikTok, contributed to Israel's failure to "control the narrative" about the Israel-Hamas war.

"The world is screaming about Israel, why aren't they screaming about Hamas?" Romney asked Blinken. "'Accept a ceasefire, bring home the hostages.' Instead, it's the other way around, I mean, typically the Israelis are good at PR. What's happened here? How have they, and we, been so ineffective at communicating the realities there and our point of view?"

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In response, Blinken pointed to the democratization of news, particularly through social media, as a factor in shaping public perceptions.

"Social media has dominated the narrative," Blinken said. "And you have a social media ecosystem environment in which context, history, facts get lost, and the emotion, the impact of images dominates. And we can't discount that, but I think it also has a very, very, very challenging effect on the narrative." 

TikTok ban not the answer to the escalating pro-Palestinian protests

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY), who co-sponsored a recent bill to ban TikTok in a foreign aid package signed in April, echoed the statement. Lawler argued that there is a coordinated effort to incite protests on college campuses. He blamed influential social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram for manipulating the beliefs of certain groups of students.

"It also highlights exactly why we included the TikTok bill in the foreign supplemental aid package because you're seeing how these kids are being manipulated by certain groups or entities or countries to foment hate on their behalf and really create a hostile environment here in the U.S.," said Lawler.

However, critics argued that this twisted reasoning only infringes upon First Amendment rights and does not address the root causes of the conflict and the legitimate grievances of protesters.

"Romney's comments betray a general bipartisan disinterest in engaging Israel's conduct in Gaza on its own terms, preferring instead to complain about protesters, interrogate university presidents, and, apparently, muse about social media's role in boosting pro-Palestinian activism," wrote Ben Metzner for the New Republic. "As Israel moves closer to a catastrophic invasion of Rafah, having already banned Al Jazeera in the country, Romney and Blinken would be wise to consider whether TikTok is the real problem."

Metzner suggested that the reluctance to engage with Israel's actions in Gaza and the tendency to blame social media for activism reflect a bipartisan disinterest in addressing the substantive issues at hand.

Watch this clip from the McCain Institute's recent Sedona Forum panel with Romney and Blinken discussing Israel losing the narrative in Gaza and its connection to the banning of TikTok.

This video is from the CreeperStatus channel on

More related stories:

TikTok ban, Tesla’s Chinese partnerships mark new phase in brewing U.S.-China data security war.

TikTok pressured to ban all truth and push only official narratives.

8 Other Chinese apps that could be affected by the TikTok ban.

Hypocrisy? Biden cheers ban on TikTok while he uses 'influencers' to boost his sagging campaign.

Republicans call for TikTok ban due to pro-Palestine content surpassing views of pro-Israel posts.

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