Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Monday that proposed legislation to ban the Chinese-owned app TikTok would “make America much more like China.”
“One of the bills that would ban TikTok is being pushed by senators in both parties, it’s called the RESTRICT Act. Mark Warner of Virginia and John Thune of South Dakota, Democrat and Republican, introduced this legislation,” said Carlson, a co-founder of the Daily Caller and Daily Caller News Foundation. “The bill is ostensibly about protecting American national security and ending ‘foreign adversaries’ from interfering in our elections through apps like TikTok. Because of course, election interference from Twitter and Facebook is no problem at all, but election inference through TikTok is totally unacceptable.
“But in reality, if you are opposed TikTok, as we are, this bill isn’t about banning TikTok, it is never about what they say it is,” Carlson continued. “Instead, this bill would give enormous and terrifying new powers to the federal government to punish American citizens and regulate how they communicate with one another.”
The White House announced it would support the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, which targets technology from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China and Venezuela on March 7, NBC News reported. The legislation does not explicitly name TikTok, but senators supporting the legislation have cited the national-security concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned app.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified at a Thursday hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he refused to discuss allegations that China was engaged in persecution against Uyghur Muslims. The company is also under fire for its involvement in Chinese propaganda, the transmission of user data to China and dangerous challengesthat resulted in accidental deaths.
Carlson noted provisions in the bill that would allow the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of National Intelligence to designate countries as “foreign adversaries” and to regulate certain transactions with them, providing for civil penalties to include a $250,000 fine or criminal penalties that would include 20 years in prison.
“This is not an effort to push back against China, it is part of a strategy to make America much more like China, with the government in charge of what you read and see and with terrifying punitive powers at their fingertips,” Carlson said.
“We’ve seen this before from the national security state again and again. Confronted with a foreign adversary, for example, after 9/11, the federal government uses the opportunity to expand their police powers over the American population and they do it under false pretexts and they do it quickly by whipping people into a panic, usually that’s rooted in some truth,” Carlson said. “TikTok is bad, sure. Al-Qaeda was terrible, of course. But these measures are not aimed at stopping the foreign threat, they are aimed at controlling the American population.”
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