It’s Bigger Than TikTok: How Social Media Undermines U.S. National Security




Members of Congress have been clear about the threat that the Chinese social media app TikTok poses to our national security. Over the last two years, Congress has banned TikTok on government devices and some members have proposed a policy that would ban the platform altogether. But when it comes to the ways that social media exposes Americans to attacks and manipulations by foreign adversaries, the problem is greater than TikTok.

Integrity teams have been dramatically downsized, foreign interference is a constant threat that looms large in 2024, and deepfakes are spreading rapidly on all platforms — including those run by American companies. The debate over TikTok has narrowed what should be a comprehensive investigation of social media’s risk to national security. On October 4, 2023, “Its Bigger Than TikTok” — an event sponsored by Issue One’s Council For Responsible Social Media — convened experts in national security, technology, and democracy for an analysis of the national security threats posed by social media, and how we can move beyond single-platform bans to comprehensive solutions.

The panel was moderated by former U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and featured the following members of our Council for Responsible Social Media:

  • Leon Panetta: Former Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, and Congressman (D-CA)
  • Herb Lin: Senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University
  • Nicole Tisdale: Former Director for the National Security Council, White House and Director for the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee

Watch a recording of the panel.