The Tik Tok Conundrum

If you’re under 30 years old, or have kids or grandkids, you know Tik Tok is not just the sound that clocks make. In other words, we ALL have some knowledge of Tik Tok, the app that has hypnotized Gen Z with unending mindless videos, most of which appear innocuous, but seem to have an overall numbing effect on young brains controlling non-stop scrolling thumbs.  Ok, admittedly, there are some very funny videos, like the old America’s Funniest Home Videos Show we used to watch on Sunday nights, remember? But Tik Tok has grown so much and so fast that many of our government leaders have become apoplectic about this phenomenon. So much so, that they have introduced a bill to ban Tik Tok in the United States.

Why Ban Tik Tok?

For several years now (going back to 2020), the FBI has been warning that Tik Tok could pose a national security threat. The reasoning being that Tik Tok was owned by Chinese company, Byte Dance; therefore, the CCP could have control over the software on millions of U.S. devices, or conduct influence operations through the app. The concern is that they can collect user data while, at the same time, control the algorithms of the content that is being consumed by mostly American youth and young adults. Keep in mind, American social media companies also have this same capability.  Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are also collecting our data and controlling the content we see; however, the U.S. Government doesn’t have a problem with this type of data collection and censorship.

What’s interesting about Tik Tok is that China has a much different version of the app which contains mostly educational information and is distributed to its youth during restricted times. So, Chinese youth are not being inundated with twerking teens and gender-radical enthusiasts trying to convince your child that they were born into the wrong body. @Libsoftiktok has done an excellent job of curating these horribly dangerous videos of teachers and other adult predators to bring to the attention of X users and other media. This is definitely content we do not want our young people to consume.

[Side note—it’s easy to see how harmful some of this content has been to our youth when you consider the extreme increase in children believing they are transgender and seeking medical treatment (puberty blockers and “gender-affirming” surgery) to transition to male or female. The number of teenagers and young adults in the United States who identify as transgender has doubled in the past five years.]

The “Ban Tik Tok Bill” – Timeline

The following timeline was gleaned from a recent Axios article.

  • In 2020, President Trump spearheaded the initial effort to ban TikTok with an executive order, citing national security concerns. After much pressure, TikTok agreed to protect U.S. data through an alliance with Oracle.
  • In June 2022, TikTok began routing all its U.S. user data to Oracle's cloud infrastructure. Oracle then began vetting TikTok's algorithms and content moderation models to ensure they weren't manipulated by Chinese authorities. This was part of Project Texas, a $1.5 billion plan aimed at ensuring Americans that TikTok is safe, their data is secure and "the platform is free from outside influence."
  • The Biden administration sought to regulate TikTok and banned the app from federal devices in February 2023. However, the Biden campaign joined TikTok recently to court young voters. (Hmmm…maybe they NEED Tik Tok to Gen Z?)
  • TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew defended the company in a hearing before lawmakers, who fiercely advocated for banning the app. Still, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce came out in support of a full ban of the app in the U.S.
  • May 2023: Montana became the first U.S. state to sign legislation banning TikTok. It came as several other Republican-led states banned TikTok on government-issued devices.
  • A federal judge in November blocked the ban before it took effect.
  • 2024: Congress moves forward with TikTok bill. A House committee voted unanimously last week to advance bipartisan legislation that would force Byte Dance to divest its TikTok app ownership within 165 days.
  • The House on Wednesday passed the bill in a 352-65-1 vote. President Biden has promised to sign it if it passes the Senate.

Tucker’s Take on Tik Tok

We know that over 170 million U.S. Tik Tok users are NOT happy about this potential ban. And is it necessary? Or even more disturbing, is it a slippery slope to censor other websites and social media platforms? You can always count on Tucker to critically analyze what some of our gung-ho government officials seem to gloss over in their efforts to push through bills. As citizens of a free country, we should all be tuned in to some extremely potential negative outcomes of banning Tik Tok. Here’s what Tucker thinks about it.

“This amounts to the most far-reaching act of censorship in the history of the United States. It's an attack on the right of American citizens to receive their information from any source they choose. Most of us believe that was a fundamental right.”

He goes on to explain that if the U.S. government really cared about protecting us and our children from China, wouldn’t they first prevent them from buying up our farmland and having access to our food supply? And would they really want the CCP to have control over our water or energy or communications infrastructure?  And why would we allow Chinese citizens by the tens of thousands to invade our country? And most certainly, they would want to protect us from Chinese citizens running our medical, scientific, and R&D facilities. They definitely would not fund their bio labs or cover up for them when they unleashed killer viruses on the world. And of course, they would certainly want to shoot down a Chinese air balloon flying over our country…. or not?

When you consider all of these actual Chinese dangers, it seems almost frivolous that they are pushing this Tik Tok ban. Unless there are other reasons for wanting this ban.

Just Another Power Grab?

“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 is going to happen.”

Senator Rand Paul is one of the few politicians who takes the time to do the math and will make the effort to share truth with the American people. He joined Tucker to discuss the Tik Tok attack and has some very legitimate reservations. He started out with this very strong statement.

Paul believes this is just another power grab and points out that actually 60% of Tik Tok is owned by international investors from all over the world. 20% is owned by two Chinese, software engineers and 20% is owned by the employees of TikTok (which 7000 of them are American). Paul admits he is not a fan of communism; but if we start banning apps and businesses at will, isn’t that what the CCP does? We can’t just take away someone’s billion-dollar business without proving in a court of law the allegations that are being made. And with Google and Facebook spying on Americans by collecting our data, how is this any different? Maybe Meta and Google just want a piece of this action for themselves?

Paul goes on to challenge the constitutionality of a Tik Tok ban:

“But there are many people who believe that there's an exception to the Constitution, that it doesn't apply when there's national security. The problem with that is there's always a national security issue for any excuse for anything you want to do. And so, I don't think you throw out the Constitution when there's allegations of some kind of connection. You have to prove that before you take someone's stuff and before you take someone's First Amendment privileges…. emulating Chinese communists is not the best way to combat Chinese communism.”

Tucker worries about the “slippery slope” mentioned earlier in this article. He goes on to postulate that this power grab could give the Biden administration power to eliminate other platforms like X—the biggest free speech platform currently available. What would stop them from accusing Elon Musk as being a tool for Russia and shutting down his platform?

So, you may not be a fan of Tik Tok; however, you should not be a fan of the government overreaching and forcing the sale of companies and threatening freedom of speech. We must always look into the deep crevices of these voluminous bills. We need people to understand all the implications. You can’t judge the bill by its cover. You have to actually read it and STOP them from quickly pushing it through since most of our leaders in Washington don’t take the time and effort to do their job. Thank you, Rand Paul!