Congress is considering banning TikTok. Tell them to pass privacy legislation instead!
Congress is worried about China spying on us through TikTok. But China is far from alone. Many apps devour our data and market it to governments around the world, including the US government. The right solution to TikTok’s data guzzling is privacy legislation, not censorship.
In its positive forms, TikTok can be a hub for youth organizing and information sharing. And like any platform, TikTok can also incubate disinformation and deteriorate mental health. Neither the upsides nor the downsides are unique to TikTok, but singling out TikTok would run afoul of the First Amendment.
Banning TikTok would limit the free expression of creators while constraining our constitutional right to freely receive information.
Trading on xenophobia to ban TikTok is not the answer.
Instead, Congress should pass comprehensive privacy legislation that prevents apps from collecting data on us that can be passed on or sold to the Chinese government, the US government, or anyone else we might be worried about snooping through our data. Privacy concerns are not unique to TikTok nor to the Chinese government. We need a robust defense of our right to privacy that extends beyond the TikTok debate into the myriad ways governments around the world collect and trade our data.
Tell Congress: Pass privacy legislation, not a TikTok ban!
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