What Would Happen If TikTok Was Banned?

All the kids are talking about it. And now, so are government officials and corporate bigwigs. An app typically known for short, clever videos (and lots of dancing), TikTok has recently found itself at the center of international scrutiny. Critics say that TikTok’s massive presence in the US is a national security risk because the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company. Business leaders are also worried, in some cases asking their employees to delete the app from their devices. But what risks does TikTok really pose? And is this debate more than just a proxy for rising tensions between the US and China?

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED staff writer Louise Matsakis joins us to talk about TikTok culture and what would happen if the app actually got banned.

Show Notes

Read Louise’s story about the national security risks TikTok poses here. Read more about Amazon’s “accidental” TikTok ban here. Read Louise’s story about inmates who use TikTok in prison here. Read more about WitchTok users hexing the moon here.


Louise recommends Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux. Mike recommends The War on Cars podcast. Lauren recommends Alan Henry’s WIRED article about how to stay productive while sheltering in place.

Louise Matsakis can be found on Twitter @lmatsakis. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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