An app for destruction

Published March 24, 2023

WORLD Opinions

On Feb. 27, the United States became only the latest Western country to ban TikTok from government devices. Next up? A complete nationwide ban, if some senators get their way. In an age where we have grown accustomed to sacrificing almost every other human good on the altar of “freedom of expression,” such censorship may seem almost unthinkable. From a broader historical vantage point, however, what’s shocking is simply that it’s taking us so long.

TikTok, which burst onto the scene in 2016 as something of a cross between Instagram and YouTube, soon took the youth market by storm with its highly-addictive feeds of short video clips featuring everything from cute cat videos to user-generated porn. It is now the most popular social media app in America as measured by new downloads, and boasts around 140 million monthly users. Unfortunately, it is the app that is using us, not we who are using it.

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Brad Littlejohn, Ph.D., is a Fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping public leaders understand the intellectual and historical foundations of our current breakdown of public trust, social cohesion, and sound governance. His research investigates shifting understandings of the nature of freedom and authority, and how a more full-orbed conception of freedom, rooted in the Christian tradition, can inform policy that respects both the dignity of the individual and the urgency of the common good. He also serves as President of the Davenant Institute.

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