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Lampe: TikTok poses no greater risk than any other social media platform

A hand holds a cell phone with the TikTok logo displayed.
"TikTok" by Solen Feyissa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.

Friday, 01/27/2023

Is Chinese social media platform TikTok a threat to national security? 

When cybersecurity officials in New Hampshire asked the FBI for information to support a proposed ban on the social media platform, the FBI responded that they had none. 

According to the FBI analyst quoted, other states had “based their decisions on news reports and other open source information about China in general, not specific to TikTok.”

Cliff Lampe, professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, told Al Jazeera it appears state government officials have looked to each other for advice on how to handle TikTok, “given their lack of expertise in the area.”

“The danger of that, however, is that if the legislation is misguided then it will replicate itself quickly with little critical examination. My sense is that part of this is that legislatures are mostly run by older people, who may see a youth-oriented social platform as banal, so the danger of being too strict is low.”

Lampe explained that he hasn’t seen any evidence that TikTok is a greater risk than any other social media platform. 

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Read “A US state asked for evidence to ban TikTok. The FBI offered none” on Al Jazeera.

Learn more about professor of information and associate dean for academic affairs Cliff Lampe’s research interests and publications by visiting his faculty profile.