What Next

The U.S. Takes On TikTok

During one of the tensest moments in history between the U.S. and China, an app has become a lighting rod issue between the two countries.


Episode Notes

The past couple of weeks have seen some alarming developments in the U.S.-China relationship. Among them is how the United States plans to deal with the wildly popular Chinese social media app TikTok. The debate over the social giant has reached the White House and discussions of what to do about it have ranged from an outright ban to Microsoft acquiring U.S. operations of the app.

What makes TikTok a threat to national security? And what does this whole episode say about where U.S.-China relations are heading?

Guest: Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, reporter for Axios and author of the Axios China newsletter.

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, and Danielle Hewitt, with help from Daniel Avis.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.