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TikTok legislation sets grave precedent for free speech

President Joe Biden speaking against a black background

Luca Perra /

President Joseph R. Biden

President Biden today signed legislation that kickstarts a process to ban TikTok and empowers the president to block other communications platforms used by millions of Americans. By passing this bill into law, Congress has set a grave precedent for free speech by starting the clock on banning TikTok.

FIRE opposed nearly identical legislation when it passed the House last month. 

The law effectively grants the president permanent authority to ban widely used speech platforms with only weak connections to foreign entities. This is a dangerous power for the president to hold over websites and apps that Americans use to exercise their First Amendment rights. 

This authority would be dangerous in the hands of any president. FIRE research released today shows that Americans aren’t confident in either Joe Biden or Donald Trump to protect their First Amendment rights — 45% have “very little” or “no confidence at all” that Biden will protect those rights, 47% say the same for Trump.

The constitutionality of this chilling expansion of presidential authority will be challenged in court. It should not survive judicial review.

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