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Trump Tok Take

“The public evidence that TikTok is a fundamental, and unique, threat to U.S. security is simply not there. TikTok, however, is a threat to Facebook: It’s a legitimate competitor that has been able to thrive without being captured or killed. During antitrust hearings, one of Congress’s central critiques was that Facebook uses all the secret information it gathers to sniff out its nascent opposition. Instagram and Whatsapp were gobbled by Facebook and Snapchat was hobbled. But TikTok has survived Facebook’s destroy mode. By the time Facebook first tried desperately to copy and clone, it was too late. But now, with Trump’s aggressive stance, Facebook has been given a gift from above. Its TikTok twin, Instagram’s Reels, launches soon. Without TikTok, the road to its success would be more open and clear. There has been conspiratorial talk about Trump and Zuckerberg since the two had dinner last November: theorizing perhaps that they reached tacit agreement that Zuckerberg would allow Trump to use the platform as he saw fit, and Trump would help Zuckerberg in other ways? I’ve always doubted that there was anything explicit. But powerful diplomacy doesn’t work that way. It happens through subtle signals, winks, and nods. And I doubt that Zuckerberg’s kindness toward the White House didn’t weigh somewhat in Trump’s mind. But this of course just lays bare the hypocrisy in Trump’s move. It’s a move against free speech and, to the extent that Facebook has been gentle on the president, it’s because of Zuckerberg’s defense of that fundamental right.”

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