Rand Paul warns the US will 'emulate China' by banning apps like TikTok
Senator Rand Paul speaking at a BBQ fundraiser for State Representative Bobby Kaufmann in 2014. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) published an editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday in which he voiced opposition to a ban on the popular app TikTok that passed the House of Representatives last year and is currently being debated in the Senate.

Paul, a libertarian conservative, attacked the proposal as a surefire way to alienate young voters and assailed it as an affront to Republicans' supposed aversion to censorship.

"This GOP strategy comes while polls indicate that 71% of young women and 53% of young men voted for a Democrat candidate for Congress. Now admittedly, many Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for this ban but like most such issues, the blame will stick to Republicans more," Paul wrote. "The banning TikTok strategy also comes while the GOP simultaneously complains of liberal U.S. social media companies canceling and censoring conservatives. So, without a hint of irony, many of these same 'conservatives' now agitate to ban a platform owned by an international group that includes several American investors."

Paul warned that prohibiting Americans from accessing Tiktok means that the US may "emulate China’s speech bans," noting that the app is already banned in China.

Paul also wondered, "does TikTok do the Chinese government’s bidding?" noting that "videos are all over TikTok that are critical of official Chinese positions."

After reiterating his fear of censorship, Paul concluded that "if you don't like TikTok or Facebook or YouTube, don't use them. But don't think any interpretation of the Constitution gives you the right to ban them."