The social media platform TikTok has had a meteoric rise. The app has become a hub for educators, activists, and creatives to influence all aspects of culture. From launching dance trends, catapulting decades old books onto best sellers lists, to educating voters and organizing changemakers, TikTok has become key to how over 150 million users across the United States create, engage, and learn. But a new movement has risen to ban the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Lawmakers at the state and federal level are growing concerned over the prospect of American users’ data becoming accessible to the Chinese government. While data privacy is a concern across all social media apps, the singling out of TikTok out points to an anti-Asian sentiment that is racist. What’s more: The banning of a social media app would be a dangerous act of censorship on the free speech of so many Americans.
Today, we will hear from three TikTok creators about what brought them to TikTok and why the platform has become a nexus of organizing, education, and entertainment for young Americans. Then Ashley Gorski, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project will help us unpack the bans.