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The problem with banning TikTok

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Channel: Vox
Categories: Government & Politics   |   Society / Culture   |   Science   |   Social Science   |   Technology  
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TikToks in trouble. But so is the internet as we know it.

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On August 6, President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with the video-sharing app TikTok. His order said that because TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, the app could pose national security and privacy risks to users in the US.

But the Trump administrations targeting of TikTok marks a departure from Americas traditional position on internet governance and online free speech. And it also comes at a time when the concept of a global internet itself is under threat.

Today a growing number of countries are pursuing various forms of internet sovereignty from Russia building a walled-off intranet, to India regularly shutting down its internet in areas of social unrest, to some European nations introducing a right to be forgotten from search engines.

All these trends point in the direction of a splinternet, where your experience of the internet increasingly depends on where you live, and the whims of the ruling parties there. As we explain in this video, thats a tough environment for an app like TikTok, which became globally successful almost immediately, and which connects people from around the world in hyper-personalized but often international subcultures.

With the excesses of the open internet visible daily (see: foreign election interference, data breaches, misinformation and hate speech, and domestic and corporate surveillance), the countries that do support a free internet will have to work hard to secure its future. But they may have to do it without the United States.

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