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Social Media, Authoritarianism, and the World As It Is

Disagreement over recent TikTok legislation reveals a deep divide about our current political moment. Should we, like many of the bill’s proponents, assume the existence of a functional, liberal state whose machinery tends toward justice? Or do recent illiberal trends give us reason to reject this assumption? Before we move to further concentrate global surveillance and propaganda power in the hands of the United States, we should be clear-eyed about the threats to speech and privacy that emanate from within.