Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
The Proposed Ban on TikTok is Election Interference

The Proposed Ban on TikTok is Election Interference

What this, again?

Racist, Rapist, Fascist

Kara Swisher has a good strategy for Joe Biden to beat Donald Trump, which she shared on CNN. Just call Trump three things: Racist, Rapist, Fascist.

There was a time when that would have worked. That time has come and gone. At best, Swisher will be ruthlessly mocked online and, at worst, completely ignored. For someone who studied propaganda, she sure has become good at peddling it. Maybe it will cycle through the Facebook feeds of whatever is left of the #resistance, a relic of the old days when CNN still influenced public opinion.

This is the death rattle of legacy media and probably the Democratic Party as we once knew it. Or, as Steve Bannon says every time he begins a new episode of The War Room, “This is the primal scream of a dying regime.

By now, the CIA, the FBI, and the Democrats are waking up to the reality of life without their precious blue-checks on Twitter. They can’t control the media narrative to boost Biden and sink Trump as they did in 2020. There’s no COVID. Biden has no choice but to get out there and campaign.

The Biden administration has been using TikTok throughout Biden’s first term. It was their strategy to mobilize young voters. That’s why they invited the transgender influencers to the White House. Remember that?

And why Dylan Mulvaney interviewed with Biden just before the 2022 midterms. Remember that?

Team Biden invested most of its money and energy in TikTok and even set up its headquarters there.

So why a ban? Why now? Because suddenly, they’re shocked SHOCKED that the CCP has so much control over the very same American youth Biden has been courting?

If you believe that, you are a fool.

All politicians are opportunists. The problem for Biden is that he’s a dud on TikTok like he’s a dud on Youtube and X. Maybe there are enough liberal women on Facebook who still fangirl over him, like I used to, but the youth he so desperately needs to win are bored.

Not to mention how the #freepalestine crowd has gone viral on TikTok, and they’re all starting to turn on Biden. In short, it’s been a failed effort at best and a total disaster at worst.

There’s a story for the New York Times and the Washington Post - How Biden’s failed efforts to win over the youth on TikTok coincided with his pledge to ban the app. They’re probably unrelated but it’s still a good story.

Google, Apple, and our government have been collecting data for years now. As Glenn Greenwald points out, anyone can buy troves of data, and American citizens are not protected.

Apparently, Biden invited 70 TikTok influencers to the State of the Union before they heard the bad news. Biden has no idea what’s happening with his campaign's day-to-day operations, but heads should roll over this.

By contrast, Trump is surprisingly popular on TikTok. Young minds and neutral parties do not get their news from legacy media anymore and, thus, can now see a completely different version of Trump. It will just drop into their “for you” page, and maybe they will see something that makes them laugh. Imagine how threatening that might be to their carefully constructed narrative of Trump.

There are only two possibilities for the Republicans to go along with a TikTok ban. The first, they’re Luddites who don’t understand the free speech issue involved in silencing hundreds of millions of Americans. Second, they were played by the Democrats.

Banning TikTok, they say, isn’t censorship, but how can it not be? Here are Tucker Carlson and Rand Paul wondering the same thing:

TikTok, like X, isn’t a “virtual gulag,” a site that has been marginalized and sequestered by the Left and labeled “far right.”

They aren’t worried about sites like Gettr, Truth Social, and Rumble. They only worry about sites that function as the “town square.” That’s especially true on TikTok, which is fast becoming the number one way all Americans, not just Gen Z, get their news.

That is a lack of control over the message the Democrats cannot afford. They must find a way to shape opinion, even if - especially if - it means censorship. Just like China!

How TikTok Shapes Public Opinion

My lesson came amid the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial. I’d been casually using TikTok but didn’t have a “niche.” TikTok is useful if you do one thing really well, but I didn’t have that one thing until the trial. Then, I found my “niche,” at least temporarily. My videos were pro-Depp and very much anti-Heard.

That was the first time I realized how TikTok could override the media narrative that Johnny Depp was the bad guy and Amber Heard was the Me Too victim. TikTok turned Depp into the victim and Heard into the villain. For the first time, I had traffic on my videos. I was part of a much bigger movement that had the power to influence the consensus.

The next time I noticed it was last Summer with the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon. It was on other sites, too, but it was primarily exploding on TikTok. Before long, it became a massive movement uniting film fans around the world, which, in turn, boosted the box office.

And of course, there is a downside to this. TikTok can lead to social contagions and has been harmful to many young people who use the app and fall into pockets of cult-like ideology. Ben Shapiro lays out the harms:

While I agree with all of these things, we don’t ban cigarettes or porn because kids shouldn’t use them. We put age restrictions on them, which is what should be happening on TikTok and all other social media apps.

The transgender craze started on Tumblr around 2013. I watched it happen, and I know why it happened. The white kids felt abnormal for being normal as Critical Race Theory hit public high schools like my daughter’s. Being “trans” or having a “trans” child elevates one’s status on the Left. They become protected or sacred.

That isn’t going to stop with a TikTok ban. Just look at the cover of New York Magazine.

The real problem for developing brains is that these powerful algorithms mess with their ability to regulate their dopamine, which ultimately makes them feel like they can’t focus, and leads to anxiety and depression unless they’re drugged out of it.

I would support a full ban on social media for kids until the age of 18 across all platforms. I would also implement strict laws that prevent data collection and algorithm manipulation. I would hire Andrew Yang to build out what he calls a Digital Bill of Rights that gives users ownership of their own data. In other words, companies would have to pay them for it.

While it’s true that if China wanted to destroy the United States using TikTok it wouldn’t be hard. On the other hand, why would they do that when they’re making so much money off American citizens, even without TikTok, and our entire economy depends on cheap labor from China?

Their selective fear of China doesn’t wash. For one thing, anyone who uses Instagram knows it’s infiltrated with ads from Chinese manufacturers that sell users crap they don’t need. They have no idea it’s even coming from China until it arrives in the mail weeks later.

The site that sells the cheapest of cheap crap called TEMU advertised during the Super Bowl, and we’re supposed to believe they’ve all just suddenly turned on China? Yeah, no.

By Any Means Necessary

They’ve already shown us that they will stop at nothing to take down Trump. We’ve watched them destroy themselves in the process. But this ban is exactly what Amazon did to Parler - a popular competitor to Twitter - when they dropped them from their servers, and all Big Tech giants refused to host them. That was for the protection of United States citizens too. But it was wrong. Have we all forgotten that?

What is this but exactly that same abuse of power, taking away the voices of the people, their free speech, and their main method of communicating with each other, and putting the power back into the hands of a lying, corrupt legacy press?

The fate of our Republic now rests on the shoulders of just a few brave heroes, like Vivek Ramaswamy, Thomas Massie, and Rand Paul:

And David Sacks points out, in no uncertain terms, what’s coming next:

And Tulsi Gabbard:

The Primal Scream of a Dying Regime

It’s probably not easy for people on the Left to watch their empire collapse, but collapse it will. The reason for that is the rising counterculture revolution.

Speech, like information, like truth, wants to be free. When you close off too much reality, too much honesty, too much critical thinking, and push a narrative on the public that no longer resonates, it’s all over but the shouting.

Milan Kundera says it best in the Book of Laughter and Forgetting:

And so it goes with the empire. They gripped too tight. They held on too long and now, there is no way to save them from their ultimate fate.

TikTok is in their crosshairs for one reason and one reason only: it is making Trump too popular. And for that, it must go.


Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Essays on politics and culture from Sasha Stone's Substack. A former Democrat and Leftist who escaped the bubble to get to know the other side of the country and to take a more critical look at the left.