Experts Warn That a TikTok Ban Is Needed—But Not Enough

In the wake of the US House voting overwhelmingly to ban TikTok or force a sale, experts are praising the decision while warning it is not enough....
Experts Warn That a TikTok Ban Is Needed—But Not Enough
Written by Matt Milano
  • In the wake of the US House voting overwhelmingly to ban TikTok or force a sale, experts are praising the decision while warning it is not enough.

    The US House voted 352-65 to ban TikTok or force parent company ByteDance to sell it. A number of high-profile executives have expressed interest in buying the platform, most notably Kevin O’Leary and Bobby Kotick.

    While some have expressed concern over the precedent a TikTok ban raises, experts are praising the move as one that was needed and long overdue.

    “This action may be justified and long overdue, but TikTok is just the tip of a very big iceberg that a single bill can’t sink,” said Chris Olson, President at The Media Trust, in a statement to WPN. “Foreign actors are constantly targeting young Internet users and other vulnerable groups through websites, apps, social media and entertainment platforms with total impunity.

    “Few in Washington realize that our digital borders are completely open, allowing anyone to spy on Americans, spread misinformation and manipulate the youth with addictive algorithms as they please. Making a meaningful difference will require far more comprehensive initiatives, both from government officials and industry leaders.”

    Similarly, experts say the ban is an important part of addressing cybersecurity concerns, but more is needed.

    “TikTok, owned by ByteDance, presents significant cybersecurity concerns for the United States, primarily due to the potential exploitation of its vast user base and the Chinese company’s access to user data,” Lisa Plaggemier, Executive Director of The National Cybersecurity Alliance, said in a statement. “Beyond the immediate privacy implications, there are fears that TikTok could be leveraged as a tool for misinformation campaigns and data collection by foreign actors, particularly the Chinese government. The scale of TikTok’s user engagement, combined with China’s track record of aggressive cyber activities, raises the specter of sophisticated cyber threats targeting American users, including surveillance, data breaches, and manipulation of online discourse.

    “Moreover, TikTok’s popularity among both adults and children amplifies the potential impact of these cyber threats, as sensitive personal information could be compromised, and disinformation campaigns could spread rapidly. The platform’s interactive nature and extensive reach make it an attractive target for malicious actors seeking to undermine national security or advance foreign interests. As such, policymakers face the critical task of balancing the benefits of information sharing and social connectivity with the imperative to protect citizens from cyber vulnerabilities inherent in platforms like TikTok. Continued investment in cybersecurity infrastructure and regulations is essential to mitigate these risks and uphold the integrity of digital ecosystems in an increasingly interconnected world.”

    Experts warn that other platforms will need to continue to fight misinformation, especially with TikTok shut down as a channel for such activity.

    “A ban on the platform could disrupt the dissemination of false or misleading information to its vast user base, potentially mitigating the harmful effects of viral misinformation campaigns,” James Mawhinney, CEO of, explained in a statement. “However, it’s crucial to recognize that the issues of disinformation and online manipulation are not confined to TikTok alone. Other platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have grappled with similar challenges, highlighting the need for comprehensive approaches to combating misinformation across the digital landscape.

    “Furthermore, a nation-wide ban on TikTok could have ripple effects across the broader social media ecosystem. With TikTok’s absence, users may flock to alternative platforms in search of similar content experiences, potentially amplifying the user base of competing apps. This influx of users could reshape the dynamics of the social media landscape, influencing trends in content creation, user engagement, and platform competition. Additionally, the ban could prompt other social media companies to reevaluate their own data security practices and ties to foreign entities, as scrutiny over tech regulation intensifies.”

    One thing is clear: A TikTok ban represents uncharted waters, and will have repercussions that will ripple out for some time.

    Get the WebProNews newsletter delivered to your inbox

    Get the free daily newsletter read by decision makers

    Advertise with Us

    Ready to get started?

    Get our media kit