Smarter than Banning TikTok

I don’t like TikTok. I don’t use it and haven’t since I saw how insidious it is. And that can come as little surprise given the app comes out of a Chinese company (ByteDance) and as I often say, it’s not like the Chinese Communist Party is sitting around a table every morning going “I wonder how we make life better for the West?” —Quite the opposite.

My feelings about this platform are no secret. I’ve been against it for years warning both clients and just the world at large of the dangers of getting into bed with people who don’t have your best interests at heart. (And they don’t). You might want to review my previous post “Tik-What?” as a refresher.

But this post is about our government’s most recent reaction to get rid of the influence of TikTok by banning it. I do NOT like this move. Banning something does two things:

  1. Makes it taboo and thus more attractive. (See anything you’ve ever banned for your kids)
  2. Creates a new underground network to give people what they want away from gov’t prying eyes. (See the USA’s Prohibition of alcohol).

Also, I think it gives too much power to the federal government to be able to just ban a communications platform that it deems to be “dangerous.” Our Founding Fathers would NOT like this. They sought to limit and constrain the federal government without exception and we need to pay attention to their warnings.

But I am a creative person and fear not, I have a solution that eliminates TikTok and its influence without banning it and heading down that very slippery slope. My solution is warning labels.

Yep – just like cigarettes, alcohol, some video games, movies, etc — whenever the govt thought we were having too much fun (kidding) it resorted to warning labels and THAT strategy is PERFECT to eliminate TikTok without really firing a shot.

Here’s how it would work. I’d love to see electronic ads come across EVERY TikTok post saying things like:

The Chinese Communist Party Approves This Message

Warning: This content comes from the Chinese Communist Party and there is a reason they aren’t a part of NATO

Great post, right? China thinks so.

Go ahead — It’s not like China is watching you. Oh wait… Yeah, sorry.

I mean, just have fun with it, right? I would. And my strategy would work like a charm because it would do two things:

  1. Make the platform LESS fun to use and REALLY annoying. See, that is perfect.
  2. Educate and remind people of all ages who is really behind what you see—and what you don’t

BTW — this strategy works great for ALL social media IF the objective was to kill the platforms. And that might not be the worst idea in the world as more and more posts become products of Generative AI. —We might get there on our own.

I don’t believe in banning things, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t use a little bit of human psychology to stop China and maybe have some fun in the process! We can be (and should be) much smarter than a ban, which is a Hitler tactic if we’re keeping score. Are we smarter? What did we learn from previous bans? How can we be better this time around?

So who’s in favor of The Robertson Doctrine which states that we shall intentionally make TikTok horrible and uninhabitable without resorting to banning it. Now let’s get it done!