A TikTok Ban? Yawn.

If TikTok hadn’t tried so hard to be like Meta (and vice versa) and if we hadn’t already seen a few hundred uniquely ludicrous bills strut their stuff on the legislative catwalk of the past few years, I would possibly maybe care about this ban. I would maybe even give advice on how to bypass the ban. The fact that two different US administrations keep coming up with the same monopolistic and totalitarian idea again and again shows us that this has nothing to do with national security, just like the online harms bill was never about protecting children. Even before the “ban” was announced, I wondered if Meta hadn’t already acquired TikTok. The algorithm acts suspicious for months now. I don’t trust it anymore.

I was all over TikTok in 2019. Now, TikTok is no different than Meta or Google as it openly prioritizes ads and sponsored content over organic content.

The main issue is that social media engagement has dropped significantly over the past years, and continues to decline due to algorithmic discrimination and censorship that have become impossible to hide since the pandemic. Another issue is TOO much data and not enough reliable filters, in other words, there are way more bots in this world than users, but bot-generated data ends up in the same place as organic data. It is counterproductive for analytics and creates bot-bubbles. A simple way to fix this is to charge users a symbolic sum for social media use and link each user with their digital wallet or credit card (with banking info being centralized to a universal digital ID). This will grant full control over the identity and conduct of all active users while bot farms will be virtually eliminated. But we all know that the day users are de-anonymized and bots are eliminated, advertising revenue will also instantly disappear. Human users are already curbing their expression (or speech in US terminology) and human users don’t watch ads. Only bots and very ancient humans who don’t know how to bypass ads watch ads. Only bots (and paid influencers) at this point have a semblance of free speech because their speech is narrowly scripted into one of the two ideological doctrines (right or left). Speech that is logical or falls anywhere in the middle will be shadow-banned, so technically you won’t be able to see it even if it exists. And if nobody sees a major portion of engagement, an army of bots needs to step in to replace the hidden engagement with non-organic or programmed “approved” engagement (for advertising revenue purposes). The vicious circle is that very little of any engagement on the main social media platforms can be attributed to actual human beings.

In a way, the very thing that put social media on the map is turning out to be a series of potential harms and a national security risk.

If national security was of any concern, no mobile app would be allowed (for years) to collect, store, use and share the personal information of users located outside of its assigned territorial jurisdiction or the country of incorporation. So, if it is a Chinese app, it shouldn’t operate anywhere outside of China. If it is a US app, it should only work in the US. It means Meta wouldn’t be allowed to legally operate anywhere except in the US. If a phone would leave the US borders, the Meta app should be automatically blocked. And I could go on if I cared, but I don’t. Do you?