Rand Paul Breaks With GOP Over TikTok

Years after former President Donald Trump questioned TikTok as an issue of national security, the controversy over the app is still raging. While many states and the federal government have taken action to prohibit the app from being used on devices that are provided by the government, the decision on whether to outright forbid the platform remains up for debate. 

These worries are related to ByteDance, a Beijing-based business that owns TikTok. Many worry that China is receiving too much information thanks to the app’s data collection capabilities. Several bills to outlaw the app have been submitted by lawmakers, but one Republican senator is defying his party on the issue.

The Republican Party’s decision to outlaw TikTok was the subject of an opinion piece written by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and published in the Courier Journal on March 29. Paul is reluctant to advance legislation, in contrast to other Republicans who are anxious to do so, and for a number of different reasons. He claims that the change would bring the US to be similar to China.

When Paul states, “On the one hand, Republicans complain about censorship, while with the other hand, they advocate to censor social media apps,” which they believe increase Chinese influence over Americans, he brings into question the GOP’s inconsistency in relation to the First Amendment.

Paul continues by saying that users can open the app and look for videos regarding Taiwan’s independence or “search for Falun Gong,” a religious group that has been persecuted by China, to really see the depth of Beijing’s influence on the app. He thinks that this, together with the Asian nation’s ban on TikTok, proves it isn’t the menace Republicans claim it to be.

The senator from Kentucky claims that the basic idea is straightforward: don’t like the platform? Don’t use it, but also don’t forbid it; doing so would go against the First Amendment, which protects provocative or unpopular speech. In order to “defend the Bill of Rights” against everyone, even members of his own party, he declares at the end and expresses his hope that “saner minds” will win out.




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