Tucker, Rand Paul blow the lid off of scary censorship move by both parties to ban TikTok

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said on Thursday that he opposes the banning of TikTok because he’s against the centralization of power, not because he’s beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.

Appearing on Tucker Carlson’s online show, he explained that, if anything, it’s TikTok’s opponents who’re behaving like fans of the CCP.

“Look, I’ve written two books about Chinese communism and what it does both during the COVID leak and also what it did during Mao’s reign, so I am no fan of Chinese communism,” he said.

“But at the same time, we can’t sort of like, you know, emulate the Chinese to try to protect our way of life, becoming like the Chinese in banning things. And this isn’t the way. Emulating Chinese communists is not the best way to combat Chinese communists,” he added.

Listen:

Continuing his argument, the senator stressed that his concern is the rapidly increasing centralization of power in America.

“My concern has always been with the centralization of power — with giving up power,” he said. “I don’t care whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat president. I don’t want any president to have the power to ban apps that are sold on an app store. And that’s essentially what’s going to happen.”

And this is wrong, he said, adding that tens of millions of Americans are currently voluntarily using TikTok after having agreed to its terms of service, including those related to the scraping of data.

“One-hundred eighty million Americans put dance videos and whatever else that’s on TikTok, and they choose the terms of that service just the way people on Facebook do,” he said. “And does Facebook scrape your data? Sure. Does Google scrape your data? Do all of these giant tech companies scrape your data? They all take your data.”

So why is TikTok being singled out? Because of the accusation that it’s owned by the CCP. But Paul argued that this isn’t true.

“You can’t say stuff over and over again that’s not true,” he stated. “TikTok is owned by about 60 percent by international investors, 20 percent is owned by the two Chinese software engineers who created the app, and 20 percent is owned by the employees of TikTok, of which 7,000 of them are Americans.”

“So it’s a significant nexus of Americans in the ownership. And then there’s a significant nexus of Americans using this. And they say, oh the Chinese government owns it. It’s just frankly not true,” he added.

What the CCP does own and influence, he continued, is Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. They do not, he claimed, have any influence over the American version of TikTok, which is owned by a company called ByteDance.

“They don’t control ByteDance, and the data [of U.S. customers] is now kept in an Oracle cloud centered in Texas,” the senator explained. “And this has been done because the company wants to try to exist.”

“It’s a very popular app. It has a great deal of value, so they’re doing anything they can to comply, yet the hysterics in the House are just shut them down, shut them down, communism this, communism that,” he added.

Paul has faced pushback on this latter point, with many critics arguing that ByteDance does in fact have ties to the CCP:

It’s not clear who’s right.

Paul eventually trotted out a theory that the TikTok ban isn’t even really about the CCP but instead all about limiting the right of the American people to publish potentially offensive content.

“Once you start objecting to content, what you’re objecting to is speech,” he said. “And I object to a lot of it [personally]. I don’t use it. I’ve never been on TikTok. I read about what’s on TikTok, but I don’t use — I don’t use TikTok.”

But he still supports the right of others to use it and produce content for it because that’s exactly what America is supposed to be about …

Vivek Saxena

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