TikTok TikTok: privacy, national security, and the First Amendment

59 Oak Point Rd
Trenton, ME
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM



July Topic: TikTok TikTok: privacy, national security, and the First Amendment

Presented in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Alaska


It’s time to learn more about this influential social media force. With over 150 million US users, TikTok has enormous reach as a social media platform. There are concerns with privacy, TikTok as a news source, its effect on psychological and physical well-being and its connection to China. But there are potential benefits, too. You may have read Julia Angwin’s recent New York Times opinion piece: “How to Fix the TikTok Problem.” We are privileged to have Ms. Angwin join us to talk about TikTok. TikTok doesn’t work like other social media apps: it decides what you will see as it learns more about you. What does this mean to us as individuals, to national security and for our democratic process?


About our guest:

Julia Angwin is an award-winning investigative journalist and New York Times contributing Opinion writer. In 2018, she founded The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that  investigates the impacts of technology on society, and is Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Journalism School’s Brown Institute. 

From 2014 to 2018, Julia was a senior reporter at the independent news organization ProPublica, where she led an investigative team that was a Finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2017 and won a Gerald Loeb Award in 2018. From 2000 to 2013, she was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where she led a privacy investigative team that was a Finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2011 and won a Gerald Loeb Award in 2010. In 2003, she was on a team of reporters at The Wall Street Journal that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for coverage of corporate corruption.

She is also the author of “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance” (Times Books, 2014) and “Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America” (Random House, March 2009). She earned a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.


Suggested reading: 

How to Fix the TikTok Problem” by Julia Angwin, New York Times Opinion piece, March 20, 2023.
Inside How TikTok Shares User Data” by Sapna Maheshwari and Ryan Mac, New York Times, May 24, 2023.


About the series:

Disinformation. Conspiracy theories. Extremism. Surveillance. Our democracy is threatened as never before by toxic online content. The social media giants seem unable, or in some cases unwilling, to control the flood of lies and manipulative practices. The staggering — often hidden — reach of Big Tech into our lives endangers civil society, our civil rights, and our privacy. In a "post-truth" world we risk losing the shared understanding that underpins our democracy. 

Each month, we explore a different facet of this crisis with guest experts. Join us in September  to learn, discuss, and work on possible solutions.