Three years ago, on a boring pandemic afternoon, my college-aged daughter got me to do a dance with her on Tiktok. It was the first I’d ever heard of the app. It all seemed pretty innocent.
Now Tiktok is a profound national security threat — at least according to the Biden administration. The White House has given federal agencies a 30-day deadline to get the app off of any government-owned phones.
Remarkably, Republicans are on Biden’s side on this one. They’re moving forward a bill that would grant Biden power to ban Tiktok from all phones. Yours, mine, everyone’s.
It’s all because Tiktok comes from China, which has raised fears that the Chinese-made software in our pockets — the pockets of more than 90 million US users — could be used to hack us, in all sorts of ways, starting with espionage. It’s a Trojan horse, ban-backers say.
In theory, maybe. But what’s the evidence that’s happening, and would it actually make logical sense for China even to try to leverage its Tiktok influence in nefarious ways? Those are just some of the questions we’re taking on in our now-dropping debate, where we ask: Should the US ban Tiktok?
Arguing YES, we have return debater Kori Schake, a national security expert now at the American Enterprise Institute.
Arguing NO is Milton Mueller, Co-Founder and Director of the Internet Governance Project.
The clock may be ticking for this app. So dance while you can, and join us for an exceedingly timely debate.
DEBATING THE DATA
TikTok is increasingly used as a news source. Learn more here.
Arguing No: Milton Mueller
“What we have to understand here is that when we talk about banning TikTok, we are banning the voices of 90 million Americans, we’re not banning Chinese voices.”
Arguing Yes: Kori Schake
“There are plenty of other ways Americans get information. And so I don’t think it is true that banning TikTok … means the United States becomes an unfree society.”
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