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The problem with banning TikTok

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 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.

Open Sourced is a year-long reporting project from Recode by Vox that goes deep into the closed ecosystems of data, privacy, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. Learn more at http://www.vox.com/opensourced

This project is made possible by the Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.

Watch all episodes of Open Sourced right here on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2tIHftD

Become a part of the Open Sourced Reporting Network and help our reporting. Join here: http://www.vox.com/opensourcednetwork

Sources:
https://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2020/8/3/tiktok-and-the-sorting-hat
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3664027
https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/reports/digital-deciders/
https://turner.substack.com/p/the-rise-of-tiktok-and-understanding
https://stratechery.com/2020/the-tiktok-war/
https://www.lawfareblog.com/unpacking-tiktok-mobile-apps-and-national-security-risks
https://www.ft.com/content/6a1b9b4d-ddbc-4b62-9101-221510fb7b45
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190514-the-global-internet-is-disintegrating-what-comes-next
https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2020/02/KeepItOn-2019-report-1.pdf

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

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