Tik Tok! TikTok: Escalating Tension Between U.S. Privacy Rights and National Security Vulnerabilities

77 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2022 Last revised: 13 Feb 2023

See all articles by Lawrence J. Trautman

Lawrence J. Trautman

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business; Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy)

Date Written: August 14, 2022


Vastly popular short-form video provider TikTok employs personalized content algorithms for each consumer. Because TikTok is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of the Peoples Republic of China, a legitimate question exists whether TikTok constitutes a national security risk to the west like a number of influential and successful high growth social media platforms that have been used by nation states during recent years for propaganda and disinformation purposes. Cyber-attacks upon American interests have been attributed to China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and others. Well-documented examples of foreign activity and exploitation resulting from disruption of the 2016, 2018, and 2020 U.S. elections now exist. It is the rise of Xi Jinping to lead both the state and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during 2013 that sets the stage for foreign policy and intelligence information gathering for both domestic Chinese and foreign individuals.

All interested stakeholders: corporate boards of directors; Congress; defense and intelligence agencies; government regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); shareholders; and social media users, must now figure out this new threat environment and what to do about it. This article contributes to the literature by providing background, enhancing awareness, an account of what is known to date about this important topic.

Keywords: active measures, China, Chinese Communist Party, corporate governance, crisis, cyber, data breach, Facebook, fake news, foreign policy, FTC, Google, HuaWei, Iran, national security, Pegasus Software, ransomware, Russia, SEC, Strava, surveillance, TikTok

JEL Classification: H56, L9, L94, L95, L96, L97, K1, N4, O30, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Trautman, Lawrence J., Tik Tok! TikTok: Escalating Tension Between U.S. Privacy Rights and National Security Vulnerabilities (August 14, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4163203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4163203

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business ( email )

Prairie View, TX
United States

Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy) ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

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