With the disclaimer that I don't & have never used the app, #TikTokBan seems worrying to me not least because I haven't seen anyone establish a clear correlation between a ban & countering child abuse, the desire to do which prompted the ban, unless I'm mistaken.
There definitely are problems with evidence-based policy https://t.co/uK8yAQsQSp but if you're arguing for something like #TikTokBan on the basis that it'd help counter child porn, perhaps ask how and why and what makes a specific app suitable for being so banned but not other apps.
The trouble with porn-related regulation is that although there are forms of porn that are clearly morally & legally indefensible, pushing them off easily-accessible platforms doesn't necessarily get rid of the porn itself. It makes it less visible: out of sight and out of mind.
Making it out of sight is not always the best way to counter indefensible porn. The worst abusers will find ways to access it & making the porn publicly-invisible can also push those who feature in it to the fringes of public consciousness. In the case of child porn: abused kids.
Maybe there is good reason for a #TikTokban. The arguments in favour I've seen so far seem to stem from a visceral and entirely understandable desire to make child porn disappear. But making it disappear from an app or making the app itself disappear may not be enough to protect kids.
It is hard to protect children. It is even harder to protect children who are not visible to the public.
We need to ask more questions about what the best course of action is, and whether a ban like #TikTokBan is appropriate given that it may not protect abused children and definitely has free speech implications.
And, then, of course, there is the argument that children are being or could be targeted as consumers of porn. Which takes one down a rabbithole trying to negotiate what is and isn't appropriate. And legal. Here too it's worth asking: who's affected? How? Where's the evidence?
We've gone down this road many times trying to ban porn. Claiming that we're protecting children. Claiming that we're countering violence against women. Remember the 857-site ban? https://t.co/zBSBrum4QW We've asked questions. Just not always the right ones. And not enough.
This isn't about any specific case or app or technology in isolation. It's about its being high time we started interrogating who exactly we're trying to protect with porn bans, how we're going about it, and whether bans have their intended effect.
If there's anyone who deserves protection when it comes to porn, it's those who feature in it -- children and adults -- and those who are exposed to it as children.
The #TikTokban discussion will ebb soon enough. The issues it raises will however remain.
(Edited and cross-posted from Twitter.)