President Trump Says No to TikTok Ban

The House Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously passed a bill which would mandate the China-based company ByteDance to divest from TikTok or face a total ban in the U.S.

This discussion took a turn late last week when President Donald J. Trump used Truth Social to argue “If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business. I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!” President Trump makes a strong point that banning a competitor to Facebook’s Reels, the short video platform virtually identical to TikTok, will expand the market dominance Facebook has over social media.

No matter how you feel about TikTok collecting data, much like other social media companies, there is a real issue with concentrating more power with Facebook and Facebook’s parent company Meta. Don’t forget that “Facebook banned Trump in January 2021” while he was a sitting president and he was not reinstated until last year. Too much power concentrated in one company can be dangerous for democracy.

Trump’s post was in response to planned actions on the part of Congress. As reported by The Hill on March 7, 2024, “the ‘Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,’ advanced out of committee with overwhelming bipartisan support just two days after it was introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the top lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.”  One member complained about the rushed process then voted to advance the bill to the floor of the House of Representatives.

At a minimum, Congress should hold a hearing to assess the impact of granting even more power over the control of political speech to Facebook before rushing to pass this legislation.

Peter Mihalick is former legislative director and counsel to former Reps. Barbara Comstock, Virginia Republican, and Rodney Blum, Iowa Republican.

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