TikTok: U-M experts available as the clock ticks on social media sale or ban

April 25, 2024


Social media app TikTok’s future in the United States is at risk after President Biden signed a bill that would force Chinese owner ByteDance to sell it. If that doesn’t happen, the app could be banned. University of Michigan experts are available to discuss this.

Sarita Schoenebeck

Sarita Schoenebeck, associate professor of information, can discuss social computing, human-computer interactions and social media.

“The rush to regulate TikTok is misguided,” she said. “Focusing on a single company on what are, so far, ill-defined threats, misses the mark, and it also sets a concerning precedent for what might be next. There should be deep, careful thought about whether there is justification to do this and what the downstream consequences might be, including under what conditions platform bans are consistent with democratic principles. It would be better to focus on developing clear and comprehensive privacy policies that are applied across the board, to TikTok, and to any other company.”

Contact: yardi@umich.edu

Oliver Haimson
Oliver Haimson

Oliver Haimson, assistant professor of information, can discuss social media content moderation and marginalized populations.

“Banning TikTok could have troubling implications for the millions of Americans who rely on the app to build community, engage in social interactions, find and share information, participate in activism, and promote their small businesses,” he said. “While TikTok does have serious privacy concerns, legislation could instead focus more broadly on social media privacy and security improvements rather than banning it outright. It is also important to educate Americans about the risks of sharing sensitive information on TikTok, since privacy on the app is inherently limited due to TikTok’s and parent company ByteDance’s obligations to the Chinese government.”

Contact: haimson@umich.edu