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538 Debate Club: Should TikTok Be Banned?

FiveThirtyEight Politics

ABC News

News, Politics

4.620.3K Ratings

🗓️ 21 March 2024

⏱️ 56 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that would ban TikTok unless its owner, the Chinese company ByteDance, sells its stake in the app. This decision has ignited a national debate about TikTok and the effects of social media. So, in true 538 fashion, we’re reintroducing a segment we like to call ‘Debate Club’ to discuss the issue. In this installment of the 538 Politics podcast, Senior Elections Analyst Geoffrey Skelley, Podcast Intern Jala Everett, and Senior Editor and Senior Elections Analyst Nathaniel Rakich engage in a spirited debate. They'll defend their arguments on whether to ban TikTok, maintain the status quo or even consider banning social media altogether. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Clearly JinZ uses it the most, but there are a lot of people who are hooked on Tik-Tok.


Like that grandmother who like talked about planning her funeral?




She's in her 90s, she's like, I'm going to the cemetery to pick out a plot today like blah blah blah like a should I get buried next to my ex-husband I have a new boyfriend and I'm kind of into him like it's crazy


It's Jen Z like Neilism laundered through a 90 year old. Hello and welcome to the 538 politics podcast I'm Gailin Druk and welcome to the great Tik-Tok debate. Yes, there was a simpler time when


Tik-Dok debate meant asking whether it's a good idea to brush your teeth with a bottle of


Jack Daniels, but I'm afraid those days are over.


Last week, the House passed a bill that if enacted, would force the Chinese company


Bite Dance to divest from its American operation of the social media app


Tic-Toc. If bite dance doesn't find a buyer under this bill within six months


app stores and service providers would be barred from hosting the app in the US until it divests.


Some have described this as a de facto ban, and while Tik-Tok is the only app named in the bill, it could apply to similar apps owned by foreign adversaries.


The stated concern is twofold, that China could use the app to collect information on Americans, and meddle with the information we are consuming.


The bill passed the House overwhelmingly 352 to 65 after a classified briefing from the Department of Justice.


The DOJ similarly briefed the Senate on Wednesday this week,


and it's not clear whether the bill will pass the Senate,


but if it does, President Biden has said he will sign it.


Both parties have become increasingly skeptical of big tech and social media


and have gotten more concerned about China and the threats it might pose to national security.


But does this justify a possible de facto Tik-Toc ban?


After all, 150 million Americans use the app.


A lot of them love it.


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