April 11, 2023
Primer: Banning TikTok
The video-sharing platform TikTok has come under scrutiny due to concerns that the app presents significant risks to national security. In a new primer, Technology and Innovation Policy Analyst Joshua Levine discusses these concerns and the legislation proposed to address them, as well as some of the problems with a blanket TikTok ban in the United States.
Some legislation to protect Americans’ data from foreign entities such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) focuses narrowly on TikTok and ByteDance, while other proposals offer an approach that could be more broadly applied to other technologies and entities. There are legitimate concerns regarding the national security risks posed by TikTok and ByteDance, but Congress should also ensure that any response addresses the specific concerns with these companies without producing additional harms. As it stands, the bills currently under consideration raise significant constitutional concerns, could create justification for further bans on foreign technology – harming innovation and consumer welfare – and may even fail to prevent Chinese firms or the CCP from collecting Americans’ data.