ACLU urges US lawmakers not to ban TikTok, citing free speech

ACLU urges US lawmakers not to ban TikTok, citing free speech
ACLU urges US lawmakers not to ban TikTok, citing free speech

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday urged Congress not to ban the Chinese language-owned video app TikTok, saying it could violate the free speech rights of hundreds of thousands of People, a day earlier than a U.S. Home of Representatives committee is to take up laws.

A TikTok ban would “restrict People’ political dialogue, creative expression, free trade of concepts — and even stop folks from posting cute animal movies and memes,” the ACLU stated in a letter to lawmakers. “People have a proper to use TikTok and different platforms to trade our ideas, concepts, and opinions with folks across the nation and world wide,” it added.

The Home Overseas Affairs Committee is about to vote Tuesday on a invoice to give President Joe Biden new powers to ban the app, which is utilized by greater than 100 million People. A ban would require passage by the complete Home and the Senate earlier than the president may signal it into legislation.

Earlier this month, Biden stated he was not positive if Washington would ban TikTok, which is owned by Chinese language firm ByteDance.

The laws earlier than the Home is the newest measure in response to fears that information of U.S. customers might be handed on to the Chinese language authorities.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White Home gave authorities businesses 30 days to be sure that TikTok is not on any federal units and techniques. Numerous U.S. states, Canada and European Union coverage establishments have additionally banned TikTok from being loaded onto state-owned units.

“It will be unlucky if the Home Overseas Affairs Committee have been to censor hundreds of thousands of People, and accomplish that primarily based not on precise intelligence, however on a primary misunderstanding of our company construction,” TikTok stated Monday, including that it has spent greater than $1.5 billion on rigorous information safety efforts.

Consultant Michael McCaul, chair of the Home Overseas Affairs Committee, in a press release on Monday, stated the laws “empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software program purposes that threaten U.S. nationwide safety. And make no mistake – TikTok is a safety risk.”

TikTok, he stated, “permits (China) to manipulate and monitor its customers whereas it gobbles up People’ information to be used for his or her malign actions.”

Consultant Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat who helps banning TikTok, stated on CBS on Sunday that he did not assume TikTok could be banned. “All we’re saying is that if TikTok goes to function right here, do not have that person information and algorithms managed by an adversarial regime,” he stated.

The U.S. authorities’s Committee on Overseas Funding in the US (CFIUS), a robust nationwide safety physique, in 2020 unanimously really useful that ByteDance divest TikTok due to fears that person information might be handed onto China’s authorities.

TikTok stated Monday “the swiftest and most thorough approach to handle nationwide safety considerations is for CFIUS to undertake the proposed settlement that we labored with them on for almost two years.”

TikTok officers have been on Capitol Hill this month making an attempt to persuade lawmakers of its efforts to shield information safety.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Enhancing by Richard Chang and Leslie Adler)

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