Tip Sheets

Possible TikTok ban would deal ‘crushing blow’ to creators

Media Contact

Becka Bowyer

TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to appear on Capitol Hill today as lawmakers contemplate the future of the popular app amidst national security concerns. The following Cornell University experts are available for interviews.

Brooke Erin Duffy

Professor of Communication

Brooke Erin Duffy, associate professor of communication, is a social media expert. Duffy is currently working on a book exploring the promises, perils, and paradoxes of the digital creator economy. She can speak to how a TikTok ban could impact consumers and content creators.

Duffy says:

“For creators, influencers, and other platform-dependent laborers, reckoning with volatility is cast as ‘part of the job’: algorithms continuously change, new features are launched or axed at whim, and content moderation decisions are shrouded in secrecy. To stave off such precariousness, most creators cobble together revenue from diverse sources and cultivate audiences across the social media landscape.

“Still, the proposed TikTok ban would be a crushing blow to those workers who rely upon the platform for income – and crucially, social connectivity. U.S.-based rivals in the platform space – such as Meta (Instagram) and YouTube – don’t furnish the same potential for ‘virality’ – fleeting as it may be.”

Sarah Kreps

Professor of Government

Sarah Kreps, director of the Tech Policy Institute and professor of government and law, researches the intersection of international politics, technology and national security. She recently addressed if the U.S. should impose a TikTok ban in a policy brief to lawmakers.

Kreps says:

“Motivated users would likely continue to find ways to use the app after a ban, but as with other social media platforms, TikTok is characterized by strong network effects. If major influencers find it inconvenient or less financially attractive, they may migrate elsewhere and draw their followers with them, denting the potential national security value of user data.

“A TikTok ban will not fully address the underlying national security concerns around user data and privacy, however. Moreover, the United States, as a democracy, will be taking steps that impede the ability of the TikTok constituency (young Americans), to express themselves and earn a livelihood. Given the potentially limited benefits and costs of a TikTok ban, legislators should consider establishing more comprehensive data privacy protections, and push for mitigation strategies such as Project Texas, before resorting to a ban.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.