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The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) is an independent not-for-profit institution that aims to promote an understanding of the role of law in society. We identify and analyse issues of contemporary interest and importance, disseminating the insights of decision-makers and experts to a global audience through our extensive online resource of free-to-download Policy Briefings, Opinion Pieces, and multimedia podcasts.

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From Banning to Regulating TikTok: Addressing concerns of national security, privacy, and online harms

TikTok Policy Brief cover
Jufang Wang
Publication date: 
Fri, 6 Nov 2020

In this Policy Brief, Jufang Wang assesses the threatened banning of the Chinese viral video-sharing platformTikTok in the US and other countries on ‘national security’ grounds. 

She argues that, if TikTok is indeed banned, this will not only undermine much-needed competition within the tech industry, but lead to a more fractured Internet and a more authoritarian Internet governance model. This ‘splinternet’ effect would violate the free speech rights of TikTok’s hundreds of millions of users, and harm the interest of consumers and businesses around the world. 

Instead, she argues that regulatory pressure is much more productive than an outright ban, since this approach reinforces a more stable, rule-based operating environment for all online media platforms, regardless of their national origins. Existing regulations have already seen improvements in TikTok's data protection and content moderation policies, in the form of increased transparency and greater independence from China’s content censorship policy.