TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to appear on Capitol Hill today as lawmakers contemplate the future of the popular app amidst national security concerns.
Sarah Kreps, the John L. Wetherill Professor in the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School Tech Policy Institute and adjunct professor of law, researches the intersection of international politics, technology and national security. She recently addressed if the U.S. should impose a TikTok ban in a policy brief to lawmakers.
Kreps says: “Motivated users would likely continue to find ways to use the app after a ban, but as with other social media platforms, TikTok is characterized by strong network effects. If major influencers find it inconvenient or less financially attractive, they may migrate elsewhere and draw their followers with them, denting the potential national security value of user data.
“A TikTok ban will not fully address the underlying national security concerns around user data and privacy, however. Moreover, the United States, as a democracy, will be taking steps that impede the ability of the TikTok constituency (young Americans), to express themselves and earn a livelihood. Given the potentially limited benefits and costs of a TikTok ban, legislators should consider establishing more comprehensive data privacy protections, and push for mitigation strategies such as Project Texas, before resorting to a ban.”
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