Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy surprised many on Thursday when he reversed his stance on the social media platform TikTok, though he used a somewhat inaccurate analogy to explain his change of heart.
Ramaswamy had previously criticized the younger generation’s strong attachment to TikTok, emphasizing the need for a shift in priorities. During a recent campaign stop in Iowa, he noted, “Sixty percent of [Gen Z] say they would sooner give up their right to vote than to give up their access to TikTok. I’m not making this up. This is the stuff of a national crisis unless we step up and stand for something as a nation.”
However, after a meeting with Jake Paul on Sunday, Ramaswamy announced his decision to embrace TikTok.
“Had dinner with @JakePaul on Sunday. He changed my mind and convinced me to join TikTok,” he announced. “Yes, it’s true that kids under age 16 shouldn’t be using it, but the fact is that many young voters are, and we won’t be able to change this country without their support. We can’t just emphasize the importance of the GOP ‘reaching young voters’ while remaining isolated in our own echo chambers.”
Ramaswamy went on to highlight concerns about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) collecting data from U.S. TikTok users, but he also pointed out that some American companies, like Airbnb, share U.S. user data with China. He argued that achieving a level playing field with China requires winning elections and reaching out to younger voters.
He concluded by stating, “I’ll be on there starting later today,” signaling his intention to join TikTok as part of his campaign strategy.