The Hypocrisies of the TikTok Hearings

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U.S. lawmakers have said that they are moving forward with a plan to ban TikTok, one of the most popular apps in the world. In hearings last week, Congress questioned TikTok’s C.E.O., Shou Zi Chew, about the platform’s addictive algorithm, its content, and whether it shares user data with the Chinese government. The hearings bore a resemblance to the questioning of Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook in 2018—not least because of the representatives’ incomprehension of how the technology works. This déjà vu raises questions: Why hasn’t anything been done to protect Americans’ data privacy? And is a ban the only way? Kyle Chayka, who wrote about Chew and his critics at the hearings, joins Tyler Foggatt for a conversation about what separates the real dangers of TikTok from alarmism and xenophobia.

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