Over the past few years, TikTok has become a uniquely polarizing social media platform. On the one hand, millions of users, especially those in their teens and twenties, love the app. On the other hand, the government is concerned that TikTok’s vulnerability to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party makes it a serious national security threat. There’s even talk of banning the app altogether. But would that be legal? In particular, does the First Amendment allow the government to ban an application that’s used by millions to communicate every day?
On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the information ecosystem, Matt Perault, director of the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Lawfare Senior Editor and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, spoke with Ramya Krishnan, a staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and Mary-Rose Papendrea, the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, to think through the legal and policy implications of a TikTok ban.