March 1st, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on H.R. 1153, a bill to give the president “the power to ban…. TikTok.” And not just to ban TikTok. Giving the president the power to ban any app from “a foreign entity that is ‘subject to the influence of China’.”
This is just one in a four-year series of American government attacks against TikTok.
Is a TikTok ban a good idea? Here is the main reason to torpedo TikTok. As you know, TikTok is owned by the Chinese company, ByteDance. Chinese law says that every Chinese company must double as a weapon, as a military asset. And TikTok has an asset that can be weaponized: every keystroke of its one and a half billion users. Including over 80 million users in the USA.
TikTok’s data can be used by the Chinese military to determine your location and your tastes, your strengths and your weaknesses. That’s the reason for banning TikTok.
But there’s a powerful reason for keeping TikTok. A very powerful reason. Our Constitution guarantees you and me five freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom to petition the government, and freedom of the press. These freedoms are the very backbone of America.
One of the shapers of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, was a leader in a new information technology. He published a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette.
Today, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are what Ben Franklin’s newspaper was in 1787. And more.
TikTok and its competitors are a new town square in which people can assemble and exchange information. And TikTok is a powerful tool for a freedom that’s not in the constitution, the freedom of self-expression. TikTok gives kids the ability to show their talents and get an audience. And TikTok gives kids a way to find a tribe of people who will welcome them. Finding who we are in the eyes of others and gathering with those who accept us is vital to human life.
On top of all that, TikTok has become one of the world’s leading news sources. A year ago, on March 22, 2022, Russia’s Ukraine invasion was just a month old. The White House gathered 30 TikTok influencers and gave them a briefing on what was happening in the Ukraine from the president’s point of view. The White house’s goal was to claw away Russian disinformation and to give what the White House felt was the truth.
TikTok was the ultimate news source. It updated its users more instantly on the Ukraine war than network TV or cable channel.
There’s one more reason not to ban TikTok. Facebook and YouTube are social networking tools of the past. Facebook was founded in 2004. YouTube was founded in 2005. That’s almost a generation ago. TikTok is the technology of the future.
To remain number one in the world, America needs generations of kids who have grown up immersed in the latest technology. Why? Because those steeped in cutting-edge technologies create the technologies of the future.
Howard Bloom has been called the Einstein, Newton, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV. One of his seven books–Global Brain—was the subject of a symposium thrown by the Office of the Secretary of Defense including representatives from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Psychology Today, and the Scientific American. He does news commentary at 1:06 am Eastern Time every Wednesday night on 545 radio stations on Coast to Coast AM. For more, see http://howardbloom.institute.