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Following concerns about the information collected by and influence of the immensely popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, debates have sprung up: should TikTok be banned? 

Some contend that TikTok poses a tangible and imminent threat to the United States’ national security, and that as such it should be banned immediately. Others assert it is a valuable and important platform for free speech, and that a full ban would violate citizens’ rights. These contrasting positions raise some important questions: is TikTok a threat to national security, and if so how should that be handled? Does TikTok’s “Project Texas,” which would purportedly have U.S. TikTok user data stored by a U.S. company suffice? Can one simply place restrictions on its use for individuals who deal with sensitive data (government employees, military members, etc.) or does the threat require a full ban? Additionally, who can/ should implement those restrictions? For a ban to be effective does it need to be national, or can states act effectively to restrict or ban TikTok themselves?


  • Jamil N. Jaffer, Adjunct Professor, NSI Founder, and Director, National Security Law & Policy Program, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
  • Will Duffield, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute
  • [Moderator] Jennifer Huddleston, Technology Policy Research Fellow, Cato Institute

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.