Banning TikTok will not protect children. It is the opening for mass internet censorship
If the pandemic has taught me anything, it is that our government is full of short-sighted, corrupt, and incompetent actors who rationalize every action, no matter how harmful to the majority, in the name of security and supposed security. Even the terms “safety,” “security,” and “emergency” have been corrupted to the point of being rhetorically flexible terminology that can be adjusted to achieve the most desirable outcome, not for the American people, but for the American governmental apparatus achieve.
Montana’s ban on TikTok is another such episode. Last week, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning TikTok in the state and in Apple and Google app stores within its borders in the name of keeping Montana residents safe from foreign adversaries and the trend toward degeneration. In fact, it is a tragic example of yet another short-sighted government action that promises to be the start of a trend toward violating Americans’ rights.
While the bill, known as SB 419, raises concerns about alleged surveillance by the Chinese government, it also justifies the ban on what Gianforte’s government believes is TikTok’s habit of encouraging “dangerous activities” among younger users, such as “throwing objects”. moving cars” and “setting a mirror on fire and then trying to put it out with just body parts”.
While many Republicans applaud this shallow attempt to anger the Chinese Communist Party, I see this landmark law for what it really is: a Trojan horse designed to normalize and streamline internet censorship.
A stock photo of people using smartphones iStock / Getty Images
The “Twitter files” have repeatedly shown us how desperate US government agencies are to censor what ordinary people are saying, under the guise of protecting the American public from “misinformation.” And I see no difference in this action by the State of Montana.
If the government can streamline banning a website or application to “protect” Americans from a “security threat,” what else could they ban online for your own safety? What’s stopping the Democrats from portraying Twitter as a security risk because they’re no longer good at handling the security state behind the scenes?
While I believe that government officials or those in key corporate positions should not use TikTok on their phones because of the risk of spying, there is an illusion that our data belongs to us, when in truth everything we do on the internet is sold to marketing firms and data brokers around the world decades ago.
What prevents the CCP from buying this data from third parties? Nothing. Heck, the US government does this all the time.
No one can tell you exactly what will happen once the CCP has your 18-year-old son’s TikTok usage data, but let’s fuck things up while Google and Apple have been sifting through data from millions of Americans for years.
The truth is that this ban will not be nearly as effective as they claim. There’s nothing stopping someone in Montana from connecting to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection tagged in another state to continue using the platform, meaning the next battle for the VPN legality or at least about VPN legality , VPN regulation.
Their other rationale for banning TikTok is that TikTok encourages idiotic behavior among young people. But unfortunately the government cannot legislate stupidity; If that were possible, many politicians would not have jobs.
Young people with immature brains who are highly impulsive were doing stupid and dangerous things long before social media existed. In my lifetime I’ve witnessed a passion for backyard wrestling and an obsession with emulating the reckless behavior of MTV’s Jackass; none of this is new.
Instead of involving the government to stop our kids from using TikTok, perhaps more American parents need to act like parents and limit it themselves.
Chinese companies, and by extension the CCP, invested over $190 billion in almost every major industry in America between 2005 and 2022, including real estate, energy and entertainment. The Chinese have long integrated into our economy, but our government is doing nothing about it. But you’re supposed to be clutching your pearls and wanting censorship because you know what kind of makeup your daughter likes to put on?
It is time to see this for what it is: an excuse to start a program of mass censorship. Don’t be fooled and don’t support it.
Adam B. Coleman is the author of Black Victim To Black Victor and author of Substack at adambcoleman.substack.com.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.