What Next: TBD

Is TikTok Really a National Security Threat?

The app’s growing popularity in the U.S. has lawmakers worried about Beijing’s influence.

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About the Show

Every Friday, Slate’s popular daily news podcast What Next brings you TBD, a clear-eyed look into the future. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, Lizzie O’Leary is your guide to the tech industry and the world it’s creating for us to live in.

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Episode Notes

TikTok now has over 1.5 billion downloads, putting it in the company of social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. While all of these companies have faced scrutiny from lawmakers in one form or another, TikTok is getting attention for its Chinese ownership as some fear that Beijing could use data uploaded to the platform for counterintelligence purposes. Is there a real reason to be concerned? Or is this just fearmongering about a geopolitical rival?

Guest: Drew Harwell, technology reporter for the Washington Post.