Musk speaks out against effort to ban TikTok: ‘Not what America stands for’

Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk spoke out against the effort to ban TikTok in the U.S., saying it would be in conflict with the First Amendment and it is “not what America stands for.”

Musk added that while the ban would likely benefit the social platform X — which he purchased in October 2022 — he doesn’t support the ban.

“In my opinion, TikTok should not be banned in the USA, even though such a ban may benefit the X platform,” Musk wrote Friday. “Doing so would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression. It is not what America stands for.”

The Tesla CEO’s position on the issue comes just days after House GOP leaders unveiled a bill centered on national security priorities, which includes language that would prohibit TikTok use in the U.S. if its Chinese parent company — ByteDance — fails to divorce its operations from the Chinese Communist Party within 12 months.

The modified provision would extend ByteDance’s time to sell the app from six months to a year, an adjustment that was welcomed by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

Cantwell announced Wednesday she would support the modification, a key development for the legislation to get more support in the upper chamber.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversarial Controlled Applications Act, the initial bill to ban the platform, was introduced last month. It passed the House only a week after it was introduced, but has gotten pushback, even from former President Trump.

“I’m very happy that Speaker [Mike] Johnson [R-La.] and House leaders incorporated my recommendation to extend the ByteDance divestment period from six months to a year,” Cantwell said Wednesday. “As I’ve said, extending the divestment period is necessary to ensure there is enough time for a new buyer to get a deal done. I support this updated legislation.”

Musk’s position on the ban aligns him with progressive Democrats, who have voiced similar concerns regarding the legislation potentially encroaching on the free speech of users.

President Biden has said that if the TikTok bill passes through both chambers, he will sign it into law.

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