Tester Calls TikTok ‘Silly': Why He Can’t Support Montana Ban
However, the state's top Democrat does see the concerns over security and feels that deserves closer examination.
While his Montana seatmate, Senator Steve Daines, has joined the conservatives sounding the alarm over ByteDance's app, TikTok, Senator Jon Tester hasn't jumped into the fray. But that doesn't mean he's not worried about what people are sharing online. He tells me he just doesn't think Montana's outright ban is the best approach to the problem.
"So I'm not really big on banning anything. Quite honestly, ban it from government phones. I've got no problem with that," Tester observed. "But as far as banning it from the general public, I've got some issues with that. What I would rather see done, and they can't do at the state level. Well, I guess the Attorney General could. But I'd like to see the Department of Justice, bring these folks. the head of TikTok in front of the court, ask some questions. And if they're doing treasonous activities, prosecute."
I had asked Tester about the debate because he has been continuing to take a hard line against the Chinese government this year, from the spy balloon to wanting to stop foreign ownership of our farm and ranch land. But rather than the ban enacted by the Legislature and Montana's Governor, Tester believes TikTok users should be careful on their own.
"It's a silly app. I wouldn't use it for a number of reasons, but some people get great enjoyment out of it. I can tell you without much reservation that China is monitoring everything that's being done on TikTok, and so it's important that we're smart when we're getting that information, make sure it's information that you want out there because. A lot of other people are looking at it you don't know about.
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Tester says he understands what Montana leaders are trying to do. He's just convinced an outright ban was the best approach…
"I don't know that I would have banned it because I'm not really big on banning anything," Tester says. "I think freedom and privacy are important and I certainly see the reason behind it. But, you know, Montana is a freedom-loving state. We're a freedom-loving country and if people are knowledgeable about what they're doing with it, then who am I to say well, you're not going to do that then."
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