TikTok On The Chopping Block?

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Is TikTok good or bad for society?

First off, I love watching videos on TikTok.
I’ve yet to make any (but I am thinking about it), and I have spoken at a few events for TikTok on the future of innovation and communications.
With that, we’re about to dive into a very complex and political issue: Should TikTok be banned in the United States?
If we ban TikTok over security issues, what happened to the countless issues we’ve heard around social media (access for minors, bullying, hate speech, etc.)? 

Sure, TikTok has emerged as a bastion of creativity, expression, and economic opportunity for creators.

It’s also become a main destination for both news and opinions on current events.
Yet, its meteoric rise from dance videos and karaoke-style quick clips is now shadowed by bipartisan US efforts in Congress to mandate ByteDance (the owners of TikTok) to divest from TikTok, citing national security concerns.
This decisive move (which is moving through the government with lightning speed) underscores the escalating tensions between preserving internet freedom and safeguarding national interests in an increasingly polarized world (relations between China and the US are strained).

And, let’s not forget that it’s a very hot political election cycle (aka follow the money and power).

The unanimity in the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce to advance this legislation against TikTok signifies a rare consensus (which we haven’t seen on other major issues) in a very long time.
The apprehension over foreign influence through control of American data and content curation also highlights the complexities of digital sovereignty in our globally connected world.
Critics (like me) argue that such a ban might pave the way for a fragmented internet, undermining the principles of open exchange and stifling innovation… plus physical borders ruling content that is global (me no like).

The mobilization by content creators and others against the proposed ban only amplifies TikTok’s value in modern media.

TikTok is not just a platform – it’s a lifeline for expression and a marketplace for ideas, embodying the spirit of the digital age – especially when it comes to young people.
Naturally, this mobilization by fans of TikTok is perceived by some legislators as highlighting TikTok’s potential for manipulation, bolstering the case for its regulation or outright ban.

Ugh… is there anything we can do to avoid banning TikTok?

Implementing a comprehensive digital privacy legislation could address these issues more effectively than targeting a single platform (this is being tried in Canada, and it’s seen as a slippery slope away from free speech).
Still, this approach could be a safeguard for American data across all digital platforms, presenting a solution that respects both privacy and free speech.
Let’s face it: A TikTok ban will ripple through the global digital economy and cultural landscape (and will only make the current tech giants… gianter).
TikTok has been huge for content innovation and a springboard for creators and businesses (so much so that both YouTube and Instagram have created their own TikTok-like features).
The debate does highlight the need for an elegant policy that can nurture economic growth and innovation while addressing legitimate security concerns.

We’re at the crossroads right now…

The decisions made tomorrow (when the voting takes place in the US) will shape the digital landscape of the future.
We all need to be sure that it’s not politics and power at play, but an actual path to ensure that we can be both secure and still have videos worth sharing.

This is what Elias Makos and I discussed on CJAD 800 AM. Listen in right here.

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