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April 1, 2024, 4:03 a.m.
The TikTok Ban Is an Assault on Free Speech
The TikTok Ban Is an Assault on Free Speech
['government', 'app', 'TikTok', 'Ban', 'First']

The bill could prove to be the second Patriot Act. The post The TikTok Ban Is an Assault on Free Speech appeared first on The American Conservative.

The TikTok Ban Is an Assault on Free Speech

No evidence has been presented for any of the assertions listed-no evidence the Chinese government exerts direct control over TikTok, whose contents are 100 percent user-created, no evidence the app has any purpose other than to make money, and no evidence the app collects data to use it in some way, nefarious or not. This is not the first time the government has tried to ban TikTok. In 2021, President Donald Trump issued an executive order against TikTok that was halted in federal court when a judge found it was "Arbitrary and capricious." Another judge characterized the national security threat posted by TikTok as "Phrased in the hypothetical." When the state of Montana tried to ban the app in 2023, a federal judge said that it "Oversteps state power and infringes on the constitutional rights of users," with a "Pervasive undertone of anti-Chinese sentiment." Candidate Trump now opposes the TikTok ban. Effectively, the bill creates a federal government kill switch preventing distribution of "Prohibited" apps or websites at the hosting level-clear top-down central government censorship of speech, and absolutely unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court in Lamont v. Postmaster General already ruled in 1965 that this right even extends to foreign propaganda In addition, the irony of the U.S. government showing concern for what a foreign company might do with user data when in the U.S. such data is openly for sale, including to the government itself, cannot be dismissed. The states agreed, saying, "Pressuring platforms in back rooms, shielded from public view, is not using a bully pulpit. That's just being a bully... We don't need coercion as a theory. The government 'cannot induce, encourage or promote' to get private actors to do what government cannot: censor Americans' speech." Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson replied, "Whether or not the government can do thisdepends on the application of our First Amendment jurisprudence. There may be circumstances in which the government could prohibit certain speech on the internet or otherwise. My biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the government in significant ways."

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