In March, Senator Rand Paul blocked an attempt to ban TikTok from being used in the United States.
This week, he did it again.
Ten months ago it was Republican Senator Josh Hawley who wanted a ban. On Wednesday, it was Hawley again.
Hawley requested unanimous consent to pass his bill that would basically prevent TikTok from being used in the United States by imposing sanctions on TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance Limited, citing alleged privacy violations he believes constitute a national security threat.
Paul objected, thinking the ban was a stupid idea. He pointed out that banning the app, which an estimated 76% of Americans age 18-24 use, would forever turn off a generation to the ideas of Republicans.
Paul also contrasted Hawley’s move with recent censorship efforts by the Left.
“The banning TikTok strategy… comes while the GOP simultaneously complains of liberal U.S. social media companies canceling and censoring conservatives. So without a hint of irony, many of these same, quote, conservatives now agitate to censor viewpoints they don’t like,” Paul said.
“The concern over TikTok seems to be over what the social media platform might do, propagating hysteria and fear of subtle communist subversion from the People’s Republic of China,” he added.
Paul asked why would America try to adopt laws similar to authoritarian China.
“Do we really want to emulate China’s speech bans?” he asked. “Do we want to intrude on the lives of Americans, deprive them of their First Amendment right to receive and consider information?”
Back in March, Reuters noted of the proposed TikTok and other app bans, “Senators Mark Warner, a Democrat, and John Thune, a Republican, have proposed the RESTRICT Act, which now has 22 Senate cosponsors, to give the Commerce Department power to impose restrictions up to and including banning TikTok and other technologies that pose national security risks. It would apply to foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba.”
Paul said at the time that the bill “would basically be a limitless authority for the president to ban speech.”