Policymakers Must Act to Make All Platforms Safe for Democracy

July 31, 2020 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — The American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement in response to reports that President Trump plans to order China’s ByteDance Ltd. to divest its ownership of TikTok. 

“There are legitimate national security concerns about the ability of TikTok to manipulate Americans through the misuse of algorithms and targeted data,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “These concerns, however, are not limited to TikTok, which, while particularly dangerous because of its ownership by a corporation headquartered in an illiberal Chinese state, bears striking similarities in its operations to Facebook and Google. Both of these social media giants were exposed this week by the House Antitrust Subcommittee as having dangerous business models, organized as monopolistic manipulation machines who sell highly invasive access to the American public to bad actors.” 

“Foreign electoral interference can and has occurred on Facebook despite its ownership by Americans, because the business model itself is dangerous,” added Miller. “We encourage policymakers to not only address the danger of TikTok, but to take the next logical step to make all platforms safe for democracy. It is time to remove Section 230 protections from social communications platforms that sell online behavioral advertising based on personalized data, or to simply bar such advertising altogether.”

Economic Liberties’ recent report on Facebook and Google’s toxic business model, “Ending Our Click-Bait Culture,” is available here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.  


Economic Liberties works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. AELP believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.