The RESTRICT Act, which would ban TikTok, is far worse than that. It’s largest assault on our First Amendment rights to speech and expression since the Patriot Act. are behind it.
A group of establishment Republicans and Democrats are pushing the aptly-named RESTRICT Act, ostensibly to ban TikTok, but really to further clamp down on freedom of speech and expression in the United States.
The bill would actually give the federal government the power to shut down any internet source from any foreign country or a company that operates in the United States that the government claims is affiliated with a foreign country.
We all know where this is going. Like Patriot Act 1.0, this Patriot Act 2.0 is ripe for abuse. Trump supporters know all too well how the FBI used the Clinton dossier to trick FISA courts in to allowing them to spy on Americans. The RESTRICT Act provides the deep state the power to shut down your access to information on their wars and other misdeeds. You can be sure that they’ll use the RESTRICT Act to restrict your liberty in ways you can’t even imagine today.
Here’s what Congressman Ron Paul had to say about the RESTRICT Act.
“Like the PATRIOT Act, the RESTRICT Act plays on people’s fears to make them silent while Congress takes away more of their liberty. This bill is a blatant violation of the First Amendment that the Founders intended to protect our right to engage in political speech and share political information and opinions with others. We should stop Congress from violating our right to discuss and share ideas on TikTok and elsewhere that challenge the political class.”
Banning TikTok is a bad idea on its face. First, the content on TikTok and other social media sites is generated by Americans for the purpose of communicating with other Americans. What the RESTRICT Act would do is stop Americans from freely communicating with other Americans.
If China wants to put propaganda on the site, so what? After seeing tens of thousands of ad messages in our lifetime, Americans are pretty good at spotting lies.
Second, banning TikTok is anti-competitive. No surprise that Big Tech companies, and especially Meta, are the ones pushing for this legislation. The reason is that TikTok is eating Instagram’s lunch. Big Tech seeks to do with TikTok and ByteDance exactly what they did with Parler—use their political influence to run a competitor out of business.
The RESTRICT Act cosponsors include ethe usual list of authoritarians from the Republican and Democratic establishments. Here’s the list of original cosponsors:
Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Republican Sens. John Thune of South Dakota, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Bonus: Here’s a clip of the hapless Lindsay Graham (R-Endless War) claiming on Fox News that he doesn’t support the RESTRICT Act. Actually, he’s a cosponsor: