Rand Paul says he opposes TikTok ban and breaks with GOP peers

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has spoken out against it a ban on TikTokbreaking from his GOP peers on a measure that would ban use of the much-criticized social media app.

legislators quoted National security Concerns raised by TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, after reports emerged that the company was collecting user data and spied on some journalists.

in a (n opinion piece Paul, published Wednesday in the Courier Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, argued that banning TikTok would mimic censorship by the Chinese government. He questioned whether the app should be banned as a matter of freedom of expression and said he would defend it even against members of his party. Paul has claimed that his opposition was not due to the ties of one of his key donors to the company.

“I hope saner minds will consider which is more dangerous: videos of dancing teenagers or the precedent of the US government’s no-speech ban,” Paul wrote. “For me it is a simple answer, I will defend the Bill of Rights against all who come, even against members of my own party if necessary.”

He added: “If you don’t like TikTok or Facebook or YouTube, don’t use them. But don’t think that an interpretation of the Constitution gives you the right to ban it.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., a vocal critic of TikTok, introduced legislation Wednesday to ban it in the US, which he tried to pass unanimously. Paul disagreed.

This was announced by a bipartisan group of senators legislation this month to grant President Joe Biden the power to ban the app. Opposition from Paul and some Democrats makes passage unlikely.

One of Paul’s top donors, billionaire Jeff Yass, is reportedly the largest US investor in TikTok Bloomberg. Yass has given millions Paul’s re-election campaign through affiliated Super PAC donations. He also contributed directly to Paul’s re-election campaign.

Paul has said His decisions on TikTok were “not based on any donations”. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

Last week, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee for about five hours. Senators grilled Chew on privacy and censorship issues. Afterward, several key senators said Chew had not allayed their fears that the app might be misused by the Chinese government.

Since then, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has given the floor the floor “will go forward” with legislation to regulate this.

The question of whether to legislate on TikTok has raised fears that it might harm eligibility a younger generation favorite for both parties if they ban the app.

“Republicans in Congress have developed a national strategy to permanently lose elections for a generation: Ban a social media app called TikTok, used by 94 million, mostly young Americans,” Paul wrote.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

Source : news.yahoo.com

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