Should the United States ban TikTok?

Source: Marginal Revolution.

Tyler Cowen asks and answers, No.

The question is more seminal than it may seem, given that many Americans today believe that some information causes harm and therefore deserves to be restricted. According to this decidedly un-American mindset, TikTok should be banned from the U.S. because it is used by a foreign adversary (China) to conduct social surveillance of our people (damaging national security) and because it exposes our children to various perversions.

I’m all for protecting national security and preserving the innocence of children, but I’m with Cowen on the question at hand. The antidote for damaging ideas is healing ideas.

15 thoughts on “Should the United States ban TikTok?

  1. “many Americans today believe that some information causes harm and therefore deserves to be restricted”

    Beat the Hell out of that strawman, why don’t you. Let’s state it more accurately . . .

    “. . . many Americans today believe that malicious disinformation causes harm and therefore deserves to be restricted by private companies who care about maintaining a civil society.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Typical. You don’t like the problem as stated, so you create a different problem. But your own creation is preposterous.

      Even “malicious disinformation” is information, and “private companies who care about maintaining a civil society” are still agents of restriction.

      The question at hand is, “Should the United States ban TikTok?” It’s a shame how you waste our time with irrelevancies.

      Like

      1. “You don’t like the problem as stated”

        As stated by you, it is not a problem. The threat we face is not from information. It is from disinformation – things that people are induced to believe that are not true.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “To them all ‘information’ should be treated equally whether it is true, false, or patently absurd.

          Now YOU are the one erecting a straw man.

          Neither I nor Tyler Cowen describe the TikTok problem in terms of free speech. Both of us acknowledge that TikTok exemplifies injurious speech, but contend that injurious speech doesn’t deserve or even require banning.

          You could have offered a serious response to the puzzle this post presents, but you wasted the chance. Stupid and gamma.

          Like

        1. Mr. Roberts epitomizes the Stalinist disregard for the truth that is the modus operandi of MAGA-Republicans. To them all “information” should be treated equally whether it is true, false, or patently absurd. If it is not all treated equally, they whine about “free speech.” Just what one would expect of a political movement based on “alternative facts.”

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “That statement makes ZERO sense in the rational world.”

          If you are rational, perhaps you could explain why not. From where I sit, information and disinformation are both made of ones and zeros. Linguistically, they are indistinguishable.

          Like

          1. “Linguistically, they are indistinguishable.”

            That is completely true.

            For example, the statements “Mr. Roberts is a moron” and “Mr. Roberts is a genius” cannot both be true and no linguistic analysis can tell us which is true. That is why we distinguish information from disinformation based on EVIDENCE derived by our senses and instruments from reality.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The EVIDENCE here is that first you accuse another poster of having a “Stalinist disregard for the truth,” then you confirm that something that poster said is, “completely true.”

            It is impossible for both assertions to represent the distinction of reality.

            Like

          3. “It is impossible for both assertions to represent the distinction of reality.”

            Not impossible at all. Someone who has complete disregard for the truth does not have to lie with every word he utters. He lies only when lying better serves his purpose than the truth would. Duh!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Google always has numerous stories about Tik Tokers stupid claims of experiences in life, jobs, what they did in various contrived situations, etc. Even the simple minded should be able to tell they are all phony. Seeing as how these stories have a woke basis or message I could care less what happens to the platform but what is perplexing is that leftwingers are so adamant that such a site that embodies the very core of liberalism, progressive and left wing ideology should be banned due to “disinformation”. Now that is really a hoot.

    Like

    1. The funny thing about this thread is that no one who chose to criticize the original post actually addressed the question in the title.

      It is like pushing buttons. It doesn’t matter what is said, some people just play back their pre-recorded message. Maybe those who act this way imagine they are personally important.

      Like

      1. “It doesn’t matter what is said, some people just play back their pre-recorded message”

        Until you admit that you do the same dammed thing all of the time, it is disingenuous of you to accuse others. Or are you using the “Trump projection model” to make a stupid point?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “…TikTok should be banned from the U.S. because it is used by a foreign adversary (China) to conduct social surveillance of our people (damaging national security) and because it exposes our children to various perversions.”

    Basically, just like all social media. Data mining is the purpose of the major social media sites.

    What else is new?

    Liked by 2 people

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