Unequivocably, all Americans who use TikTok should feel safe that their user data, such as browsing history, location, and biometric identifiers, isn’t being tracked by China’s authoritarian government. We are repeatedly warned that the app, which has dominated social media since 2018, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Yet, notably, according to U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), ByteDance is held 60 percent by international investors like BlackRock, 20 percent by the two Chinese software engineers who developed it, the entrepreneurs who began the business, and 20 percent by their employees, 7,000 of whom are American. As noted by Sen. Paul, with very diverse ownership, ByteDance is not owned by the Chinese government. Hmmm. Thus, with the endless propaganda and political bribery facing Americans at every turn, the motive for propelling a ban on TikTok is confusing and clouded. If such a ban occurred, what would it mean for the future of the internet and social media, and does it present any practical benefits to protecting users’ private data?

In the latest move to ban TikTok, on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, the House of Representatives voted 352-65 to pass HB 7521, which could eventually lead to a ban of the app. President Biden has indicated he’d support the bill if passed. Titled the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” HB 7521 gives ByteDance six months to relieve its stake in the company or face a complete ban in the United States. On Thursday, OAN reported that President Trump’s Ex-Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that he is in the process of putting together a team of investors to buy the popular yet controversial company TikTok, which boasts over $40 billion in revenue, remarking:

“I think the legislation should pass, and I think it should be sold. I understand technology, and it’s a great business, so I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.

[TikTok] should be owned by U.S. businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.

I think the Chinese will be fine selling it so long as there’s not a technology transfer along the way. I don’t think this should be controlled by any of the big U.S. tech companies. Users love it. It shouldn’t be shut down.”

Both the Trump and Biden administrations have tried to force ByteDance to sell TikTok or TikTok’s American operations. Thus far, ByteDance has refused to do so. For years, concerns have been raised, including by high-profile U.S. Senators, that TikTok poses a real threat to national security. So much so that in August 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (E.O.) banning transactions between ByteDance and U.S. citizens, which effectively banned TikTok altogether. Yet, the move was short-lived, thanks to legal challenges later that year. Ultimately, the ban was overturned by President Biden in June 2021 when he signed EO 14034, which instead ordered a review of foreign-owned apps by government agencies—no doubt regrouping to devise a new, and more sinister strategy.

TikTok was once again restricted in 2022 when the Consolidations Appropriations Act was signed in December, which included the No TikTok on Government Devices Act led by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO). In 2023, Congress considered other measures to ban the app, including the DATA Act and the RESTRICT Act. Following the federal lead, most states have banned TikTok on government devices and networks. Only 17 states and D.C. do not have a statewide ban of TikTok on government devices as of May 24, 2023, with four having only partial bans.

With a smoke-and-mirrors government on board with a global agenda to strip humanity of its freedoms, it is difficult to ascertain the ripple effect behind such action as a government ban on TikTok. But no doubt it has the risk of being huge. Though Biden’s target is TikTok, any app or monopoly platform—TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (now X), Google—can, does, and has used algorithms to influence public opinion. The Biden administration used the covert strategy to promote the deadly gene-damaging mRNA COVID-19 jabs. This is a fact. Yet with TikTok specifically, because of its ties to communist China, Americans are told TikTok poses a threat to national security.

Interestingly, on February 28, two weeks before the House vote, in an effort to “expand the scope of the national emergency declared” in EOs 13873 and 14034, Biden issued an Emergency Declaration by Executive Order. To some, the E.O. might read as though, by specifying authority and prescribing definitions, the president is laying the footing for sneaky moves ahead of HR 7521. Titled “Executive Order on Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern,” many see this E.O. as Biden using his legal authority over national security to try and control everything—data, internet, private records, banking, and so on. The E.O. is worthy of a closer look. Skimming the surface, it fits with the deep-state agenda. Remember, after taking office, his partner in crime, Obama, boasted that he didn’t need Congress because he had a phone and a pen. Keep throwing out E.O.s, keep the fear factor high, and see what sticks.

Regardless, any action that threatens the First Amendment is serious. Indeed, many see pros and cons to a ban on TikTok, particularly if it serves as a propaganda arm of the CCP. Most Americans support the “tough on China approach” presented by the FBI and other government agencies but, at the same time, don’t trust the FBI and those agencies, and rightly so. What a mess. According to Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA), CCP’s laws require Chinese companies to spy on their behalf. Is that true, and does that mean ByteDance must grant the CCP access and manipulation capabilities as a design feature? Additionally, a 2022 report noted that nearly 20 percent of TikTok videos contain and promote misinformation—from “tutorials” to make dangerous drugs at home to extremist false political claims to misleading clips of speeches to “deep fake” videos. But don’t other social media platforms do the same?

Several freedom-loving independent researchers conclude that TikTok is no more of a threat than American-owned social media sites that collect and sell user data. Furthermore, both Facebook and Google collect more personal data from users than TikTok, which, in reality, has no more dangerous information than other social media sites. As pointed out by Sen. Rand Paul, we don’t ban things that are unpopular in America. Doing so would “emulate Chinese speech bans.” Activist Evan Greer remarked that a ban on TikTok would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, stating:

“The U.S. government can’t ban you from posting or watching TikTok videos any more than they can stop you from reading a foreign newspaper like the Times of India or writing an opinion piece for The Guardian.”

As cronies like the World Economic Forum (WEF) encourage humanity to merge with technology, many individuals and businesses rely on TikTok and other social media platforms for livelihood, whether they’re aware of the deep state scheme or not. Banning TikTok amounts to the government criminalizing specific businesses without evidence of wrongdoing, as documented by ProCon.org. Not only would TikTok itself suffer, but the many companies that use the platform could also be decimated. TikTok estimates that “nearly 5 million businesses seeking expansion and success, including countless small businesses,” use the app. In fact, many small businesses rely solely on TikTok for promotion and sales. One could argue that banning TikTok amounts to the government criminalizing specific businesses without evidence of wrongdoing. Not only would TikTok itself suffer, but many establishments that use the platform would also be destroyed.

So why is TikTok the scapegoat? Undoubtedly, calls to ban TikTok allow politicians the easy-speak word salad to be “tough on China” without identifying or addressing existing threats—more of the gibberish that Americans do not need. The fear factor propaganda is high surrounding the CCP, so one must ask the question—is TikTok the perfect vessel for executing the free-speech takeover? As independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy pointed out, Biden enjoys censoring and silencing those who dare question him. Commenting on the current push to ban TikTok, Kennedy remarked in part:

“I’ve been hearing a lot about the momentum in Congress to ban TikTok and I want you to remember that every right the government has ever taken away from citizens was removed under the pretense of national security.

My father’s favorite philosopher, Albert Camus, wrote, ‘The welfare of the people is always the alibi of tyrants.’

And [banning TikTok] provides further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a clear conscience. Remember that when Congress gives Joe Biden the power to remove an app from your cell phone.

People love TikTok – it’s the digital public square. If there are security concerns in the tech backend, let’s address them there, but let us never reduce Americans’ ability to freely exchange ideas.”

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Tracy Beanz & Michelle Edwards

Tracy Beanz is an investigative journalist with a focus on corruption. She is known for her unbiased, in-depth coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. She hosts the Dark to Light podcast, found on all major video and podcasting platforms. She is a bi-weekly guest on the Joe Pags Radio Show, has been on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom and is a frequent guest on Emerald Robinson’s show. Tracy is Editor-in-chief at UncoverDC.com.