Sen. Rand Paul battle Fox News' Brian Kilmeade over details of TikTok legislation

 March 17, 2024

The renewed push to force the popular video-sharing platform TikTok, currently controlled by a Chinese parent company, has gained steam in Congress.

Last week, the Republican-led House passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applicants Act with relative ease. Now, the only question is if it will have the same success in the Senate.

Many senators from both sides of the aisle have pushed back on the idea, citing freedom of speech implications should it be passed.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a leading voice on the right in opposing banning the application. In a recent interview, he clashed with a Fox News host during a debate on the technicalities of the issue.

What happened?

If the legislation is passed in the Senate and ultimately signed into law, it would "give ByteDance 180 days to divest from TikTok by selling 80 per cent of their shares to an American company, or otherwise face removal from US app stores," The Independent reported.

Kilmeade and Paul debated the specifics of the company and the legislation, with Paul correcting Kilmeade after he claimed that TikTok was owned by parent company ByteDance, which Kilmeade said was "owned" by China.

"No, it’s not. See, that’s a lie," Paul fired back. "You’re defaming the company."

Paul corrected Kilmeade a number of times while debating the ownership of the company, emphasizing that the company is "privately owned."

"You’ve just told a lie, Brian," Paul continued. "You can’t say on TV something that is a lie about a company."

Social media reacts

Users across social media overwhelmingly backed the Kentucky Republican in this particular debate.

"Rand should endorse Trump NOW He is right on this point tho and Kilmeade is a big mouth know it all. Don’t watch don’t listen," one X user wrote.

Another X user wrote, "This entire TikTok charade is so ridiculous. It’s about ONE thing - Google ad revenue is down and alphabet Inc (aka the federal govt) doesn’t like that young people are using tiktok. Glad Rand Paul called him out."

It's unclear when, or if, the Senate will take up the bill. The Guardian reported that the upper chamber is currently "slow-walking" it and taking their time to consider such legislation. President Joe Biden has signaled that he will sign it into law if it makes it to his desk. Only time will tell.

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