This article by Ben Werdmuller about TikTok is ridiculous.

Let be clear about something: it’s not a ban.

Werdmuller says:

There are a few worries at play:

  • TikTok will irresponsibly collect enormous amounts of data about hundreds of millions of Americans, something no other social network would ever do
  • There’s a possibility that TikTok will be used to spread propaganda, unlike every other social network
  • TikTok is Chinese, not American

Yes these are all worries, leaving aside the snark of something no other social network would ever do”. The big difference between TikTok and other social networks of course is that those other networks he’s referring to aren’t controlled by the Chinese Communist Party with it’s own agenda and interests in manipulating American citizens. There is already plenty of evidence that this is occurring. That Werdmuller is defending this under the guise of free speech” is absolutely preposterous.

It’s not that TikTok is particularly harmful compared to other similar apps: it’s that we’re deathly afraid of China.

No, we’re not deathly afraid of China” but we should be cautious. That’s what intelligence operations and the government should be doing.

Should this precedent spiral, it’s not unreasonable to think that more foreign services that threaten American incumbents will be banned or forced to divest.

Werdmuller doesn’t seem to understand that none of this is new and has been standard procedure for decades. He also doesn’t apparently know that the Department of the Treasury has an office for this type of thing: the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States who have been looking into TikTok for years now.

This in itself feels un-American: a violation of the democratic rights enshrined in the First Amendment and the principle of free speech.

There is no such thing as absolute free speech and again this isn’t the first time a company would be forced to divest to keep doing business in the United States.

Personally, I just think it’s stupid.

It’s not stupid, it’s government working as it should.

April 25, 2024