I am writing to urge you to observe my constitutional right to free expression and to oppose any measure that would give the United States federal government the power to ban, censor, or limit any social media platform.
The DATA Act and the RESTRICT Act will eradicate the First Amendment right of Americans to engage in political discussions, artistic expression, and the free exchange of ideas. This ban on TikTok is merely a starting point. These acts will result in bans of other businesses and applications. The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to use TikTok and other platforms to communicate with people around the country and the world. Limiting our ability to assemble, virtual or otherwise, directly violates the First Amendment.
As your constituent, I demand that you vote “No” to any attempt to infringe upon my First Amendment right.
In addition to the implications of a ban on domestic free expression, a legislative ban on TikTok in the U.S. would set an alarming global precedent, lending legitimacy to authoritarian regimes in shutting down and excluding services they disfavor. Major American digital platforms have been banned or severely restricted by governments, including the Chinese Communist Party, Pakistan, and Uganda, seeking to silence and obstruct the open flow of communication and information. When Nigeria banned Twitter for seven months in June 2021, the U.S. condemned it, reiterating its support for “the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Ni Assets Control designated individuals responsible for the blocking of social media applications in Iran as “engaging in censorship activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran.” If the U.S. were to now put its statutory imprimatur on wholesale banning as a means of redressing its unsubstantiated “security concerns” about digital platforms, other governments will follow suit, insisting that their own security concerns are equally pressing. A ban on TikTok would sorely undermine U.S. credibility as a defender of digital freedom and invite copycat measures that could lead to severe constriction of expression worldwide.
Please be advised: If you do not oppose the DATA ACT and the RESTRICT Act, the ban of TikTok, or any assault on the first amendment, I will dedicate my time, effort, and finances to support political candidates who oppose you. Your actions will, indeed, have consequences.
▶ First sent on March 26 by Yolanda