The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Civil rights organizations oppose xenophobic TikTok ban, implore Congress to pursue common sense privacy legislation instead

From the RESTRICT Act to this most recent legislative attempt (Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act) to ban TikTok, Fight for the Future has continued to call it like it is: the rhetoric fueling a TikTok ban is a xenophobic, moral panic about the content on TikTok, disregarding the 150 million users in the US that use the app for news, small business, community organizing, and free expression.

If Congress really cares about the data abuse Americans are subject to because of surveillance capitalist business models, they should pass comprehensive privacy legislation that would stop all Big Tech companies from harvesting our data. Millions and millions of people use TikTok to connect with people, learn about current events, and support their families. A total ban would infringe on the First Amendment rights for all of these people, in addition to not solving the problem at hand. The data of Americans is already susceptible to bad actors, foreign and domestic, because Congress has waited so long to act. Censorship is not the answer, data privacy legislation is.

Fight for the Future has been helping young people and TikTok creators take action against each version of a TikTok ban for months, using to showcase their voices.

Fight for the Future has also joined other civil society groups, including the ACLU, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and PEN America, in a letter to Congress opposing this bill for its unconstitutionality and threat to free speech.

“Banning or requiring divestiture of TikTok would also set an alarming global precedent for excessive government control over social media platforms,” the letter said. “The United States has rightfully condemned other countries when they have banned specific social media platforms, criticizing these efforts as infringing on the rights of their citizens. If the United States now bans a foreign-owned platform, that will invite copycat measures by other countries, banning American-owned speech intermediaries and companies from operating in their borders, with significant consequences for free expression globally.”

Fight for the Future is a group of artists, engineers, activists, and technologists who have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling Internet outrage into political power to win public interest victories previously thought to be impossible. We fight for a future where technology liberates -- not oppresses -- us.

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