DUBAI: Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley claimed on Wednesday that spending time on social media app TikTok made people “17 percent more antisemitic, more pro-Hamas” every 30 minutes.
During the Republican presidential primary debate, Haley said: “We really do need to ban TikTok once and for all and let me tell you why.
“For every 30 minutes that someone watches TikTok every day they become 17 percent more antisemitic, more pro-Hamas based on doing that.”
Haley was likely referring to a recent study, but her comments were not entirely accurate, pointed out Steve Goldstein, European bureau chief for MarketWatch.
“The study, a pretty decent sample of some 1,323 Americans under the age of 30, found that spending 30 minutes a day on TikTok was associated with a 17 percent increase in the likelihood they were to hold antisemitic or anti-Israel views compared to people who don’t use it at all,” he wrote.
“While much higher than the antisemitic views of Instagram or X users, the study does not suggest that continuing to use the Chinese-owned social media service will further bolster the user’s antisemitic views,” he added.
Goldstein also drew attention to “the important distinction between causation and correlation,” saying that the study authors note “that for every video view with a pro-Israel hashtag, there are 54 with a pro-Palestinian one.”
Haley’s comments have sparked amusement and mockery online.
Anthony Goldbloom, the data scientist behind the study, retweeted a clip of Haley speaking during the debate on Wednesday.
In other tweets, he said that he does not trust TikTok because the company allegedly puts out “so many contradictory and easily falsifiable comments” in their news releases.
TikTok said on Twitter through its policy account that Haley’s comments are “100% false.”
Her claims have been labelled as false by TV station WUSA9 and Verify This.