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IPFS News Link • Social Networking/Social Media

Taibbi: Why The TikTok Ban Is So Dangerous

•, by Matt Taibbi

It's funny how things work.

Last year at this time, Americans overwhelmingly supported a ban on TikTok.

Polls showed a 50-22% overall margin in support of a ban and 70-14% among conservatives. But Congress couldn't get the RESTRICT Act passed.

As the public learned more about provisions in the bill, and particularly since the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza, the legislative plan grew less popular. Polls dropped to 38-27% in favor by December, and they're at 35-31% against now.

Yet the House just passed the "Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act" by a ridiculous 352-64 margin, with an even more absurd 50-0 unanimous push from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

What gives?

As discussed on the new America This Week, passage of the TikTok ban represents a perfect storm of unpleasant political developments, putting congress back fully in line with the national security establishment on speech. After years of public championing of the First Amendment, congressional Republicans have suddenly and dramatically been brought back into the fold. Meanwhile Democrats, who stand to lose a lot from the bill politically — it's opposed by 73% of TikTok users, precisely the young voters whose defections since October put Joe Biden's campaign into a tailspin — are spinning passage of the legislation to its base by suggesting it's not really happening.

"This is not an attempt to ban TikTok, it's an attempt to make TikTok better," is how Nancy Pelosi put it. Congress, the theory goes, will force TikTok to divest, some kindly Wall Street consortium will gobble it up ("It's a great business and I'm going to put together a group to buy TikTok," Steve Mnuchin told CNBC), and life will go on. All good, right?