Facebook has most to gain from Trump’s TikTok ban with Instagram Reels

The timing of the possible Donald Trump TikTok ban is very eerie. TikTok has been around for a while and the same China privacy concerns always existed.

However, the administration didn’t publicly mention banning the app until the Black Lives Matter movement exploded on TikTok and Facebook announced its plan to come out with a new copycat TikTok app called Reels, which is expected to launch in August.

“Reels was designed to directly challenge TikTok’s growing dominance,” said TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez. “In a new area in the Instagram app, Reels allows users to create and post short, 15-second videos set to music or other audio, similar to TikTok.”

Trump can wait to ban TikTok once Facebook’s app is announced and handover even more power to the social media company that failed to moderate violent and hurtful posts (white nationalism) that helped Trump get elected.

Facebook would basically have a monopoly over the largest social media apps in the world: Instagram, Facebook, and Reels (basically TikTok).

Facebook owning a social media monopoly is a scary thought. Facebook already is a scary company. So is setting a precedent that allows the United States government to censor internet content by banning TikTok.

Samm Sacks, a senior cybersecurity policy fellow at Yale Law School, thinks, via Vox Media, banning the TikTok app would be “an important step toward the US government controlling the way that Americans use the internet, which is ironically a step toward Beijing’s own cyber-sovereignty, the very thing we’ve been railing against for years.”

TikTok privacy and censorship concerns are fair, but let’s look at both sides of the debate

While Facebook may have a lot to gain from the possible TikTok banning and the Black Lives Matter movement might have something to lose, let’s look at both sides of the TikTok debate because it is a nuanced one.

Why should TikTok be deleted?

Why should TikTok not be deleted?

  • Sets a bad precedent for censorship on social media
    • What apps in the future will be banned? Who will be banning those apps in the future?
  • Limits voices of the younger generation including progressive voices and minority voices since TikTok is a younger audience
  • China can already hack people’s information if they want to
    • “I find the data privacy issue to be a bit of a red herring,” says Jordan Schneider, host of the ChinaTalk podcast and newsletter. “The Chinese government has many likely more impactful ways of getting blackmail or corporate secrets or just general information about individual US nationals.” – Vox Media
  • While the app might help China gather data to build artificial intelligence, banning the app might negatively impact the United States’ ability to access international data which would, in turn, limit the United States’ ability to build a successful artificial intelligence software
    • If the United States bans TikTok then you could imagine a scenario where many other social media apps from America are banned in other countries limiting the United States’ ability to collect data and build better artificial intelligence themselves
  • Banning the app is an excuse for not finding a solution for data privacy that not only works for TikTok but other American tech giants like Facebook that abuse user data
    • Let’s not pretend TikTok will be the last social media controversy
    • Find a way to make TikTok secure so it not only fixes this one situation but future problems as well. Best to find a solution that doesn’t involve banning because that sets a scary precedent
  • TikTok says the data is kept separately away from Chinese influence (but they wouldn’t tell us the Chinese government was spying on the app it if it was)

Let MeidasTouch know what you think about the TikTok debate by joining the Reddit discussion below and giving your opinion:

DISCUSSION: Should TikTok be banned in the United States?

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