A letter in response to Sen. Marco Rubio’s call to ban TikTok

Dear Sen. Rubio (and staff),

Thank you for taking a moment to respond to my recent letter expressing my concerns about a congressional ban on the social media app TikTok. In response to your observations, let me say the following:

You pointed out there were indications China had attempted to use TikTok to influence the outcome of the mid-term elections. We know for a fact the Russians interfered with the 2016 election using Facebook and Twitter. Why aren’t there efforts underway to ban Facebook and Twitter?

You claimed TikTok poses a threat to American users by exploiting their personal information. We know Facebook is guilty of this practice by way of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Why isn’t Facebook being threatened with closure?

Additionally, the owners of TikTok have bent over backwards to accommodate American security concerns, even allowing an American company to sequester all data harvested from TikTok’s American users. Why do these concerns persist?

The perception among your constituents is that efforts to ban TikTok have little to do with security concerns. Instead, they seem rooted in an effort to silence opposition to the Republican Party.

It is a fact young people use TikTok to express their dissatisfaction with the increasingly vile morals and values of the GOP. Instead of trying to win the hearts and minds of voters by allowing their ideas to compete in the intellectual marketplace, Republicans seem hellbent on stifling criticism, a page from the playbooks of thugs like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Banning TikTok won’t silence the GOP’s critics. Young people will move to another platform. At the same time, Republicans will find themselves increasingly isolated and irrelevant in a world that is passing them by.

Again, I urge you to rethink your opposition to TikTok, and I ask that you withdraw your bill, ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act (S. 347). It serves no purpose other than to add another nail to the Republican political coffin.

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .


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