TikTok ban in the US

Rand Paul, Republican Senator, prevents TikTok ban in the US

US Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, has thwarted an effort to expedite the prohibition of the popular social media app TikTok, citing apprehensions regarding free speech and unequal treatment of social media firms. A rising number of both Democrats and Republicans are raising concerns over a legislation targeting TikTok. Founded by Chinese entrepreneurs, the app has over 150 million monthly users in the United States, predominantly consisting of young individuals. Senator Paul, in a statement on the Senate floor on Wednesday, voiced his opinion, “I think we should beware of those who use fear to coax Americans to relinquish our liberties…Every accusation of data gathering that has been attributed to TikTok could also be attributed to domestic big tech companies.” Republican Senator Josh Hawley had requested unanimous consent for a bill seeking the prohibition of TikTok, alleging that the app was spying on people in the US. Hawley stated that such a ban would protect the American people and convey a message to Communist China that they cannot control them. TikTok has refused spying allegations and has claimed to spend more than $1.5bn on strict data security measures. The app’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, appeared before Congress last week to address national security concerns over the app, attempting to dispel apprehensions over TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government and its alleged failure to prevent the dissemination of “harmful” content. He portrayed the app as “a place where people can be creative and curious” and asserted that the company was undertaking measures that exceed industry standards in terms of data protection and transparency. It is uncertain when the house will address TikTok, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has stated that they will address it but did not provide a specific timeline. It is also unclear what the final bill to address TikTok might entail. A small but growing number of Democrats and Republicans have raised concerns over the proposed legislation targeting TikTok, citing issues of free speech and the bill’s broadness. Senator Paul criticized the ban, stating, “If Republicans want to continuously lose elections for a generation, they should pass this bill to ban TikTok…Do we really want to emulate Chinese speech bans? We’re going to be just like China and ban speech we’re afraid of?”