photo of a cell phone showing the TikTok app logo. Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Banning TikTok? Walter Shorenstein Fellow Julia Angwin says Congress is missing the point

Julia Angwin, a light skinned woman with short brown hair and glasses wearing a dark blue leather jacket
Julia Angwin

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on March 13th that would mandate the sale of TikTok by its Chinese parent company for the social media app to remain available to U.S based customers. If the bill passes the Senate then TikTok, which is estimated to be worth $150 billion, would need to be sold within six months to avoid being banned in the United States.

Walter Shorenstein Media & Democracy fellow Julia Angwin wrote last week in The New York Times that this legislation’s focus on one platform is missing both the public demand and broader need for comprehensive social media regulation.

All of the social media platforms are information minefields, rife with deceptive content from state actors, corporations, paid influencers and others. Their algorithms fuel our worst impulses by highlighting content that promotes anger and outrage. They strip mine our data to make money.

Forcing TikTok to merge with another data-hungry social media platform won’t solve any of that. What will make a difference is establishing base-line privacy rules that prohibit companies from exploiting our data and that give us control over the algorithms used to manipulate us.

Julia Angwin in The New York Times

Read Angwin’s opinion piece in The New York Times, and listen to her interview on the TikTok ban legislation on On The Media.

 Image showing people protesting the TikTok ban legislation with a button to listen to Julia Angwin's interview on the subject with On The Media.Headline of Julia Angwin's NY Times Opinion essay "Why Are Lawmakers Trying to Ban Tiktok Instead of Doing What Voters Actually Want?"