In Targeting TikTok, Congress Is Taking the Hardest Path to Online Safety

This commentary was originally published in Barron's on March 14, 2024.

A new era of social media regulation seemed imminent after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Revelations of Russian disinformation and Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to target voters sparked calls for stronger limitations on data collection and algorithmic rankings. Eight years later, Congress largely seems to have abandoned these lofty goals.

Lawmakers have not enacted any new comprehensive legislation to increase Americans’ online safety. Many U.S. social media platforms subsequently chose to drastically reduce the Trust and Safety teams that oversee efforts to fight disinformation. And now, rather than address these structural risks across all digital platforms, Congress is seemingly choosing a much narrower approach. It is considering forcing just one company, TikTok, to either face a divestiture or a ban.

Read the full article in Barron's