Top Dem Slams Potential TikTok Ban

The youngest member of Congress has come out in opposition to a bill that, if it becomes law, would ban TikTok in the U.S. unless the social media app is sold.

Before the bill made its way to a vote in the House on Wednesday, Florida Representative Maxwell Frost railed against the proposal, saying there were many First Amendment issues surrounding it.

Frost, a Democrat, took to the social media platform X to express his views, writing:

“I am NO on the TikTok bill we are about to vote on. I believe the bill does set TikTok up to be banned, there are first amendment issues I see with taking away a platform that over 170 million Americans use, and this won’t fix the serious issues we have with data privacy.”

TikTok has been in the crosshairs of politicians around the country for a few years now, but it’s all come to a head in recent months. There are many concerns over how the Chinese government could access the data of U.S. users on the platform, as well as influence them by feeding them certain content.

The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China and therefore would have to turn over access to its user data if the Communist government there asks for it.

On Wednesday, the House passed a bipartisan bill by an overwhelming 352-65 vote. It will now head to the Senate, though it’s not certain to even be taken up in the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t said for sure whether he will bring the measure up for a vote. In a statement released after the House passed the bill, Schumer said:

“The Senate will review the legislation when it comes over from the House.”

If it does pass through Congress, President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill into law.

Despite the bill passing with overwhelming support in the House, Frost said he believes there are limits that are being placed on free speech that are unconstitutional. He also believes the process of banning TikTok has been rushed.

Instead of banning TikTok, Frost believes Congress should create legislation that would aim to protect the data of Americans from domestic companies and foreign adversaries.

As he said:

“But, this kind of surgical approach to a very specific company that’s going to have consequences for people in our country, I don’t think is the way to handle that.”

Frost, who has a TikTok account himself, also said that banning the program wouldn’t “be helpful with young voters.”

House leadership celebrated the passage of the bill this week, with Speaker Mike Johnson saying in a statement:

“Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates Congress’ opposition to Communist China’s attempts to spy on and manipulate Americans, and signals our resolve to deter our enemies. I urge the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the President so he can sign it into law.”