The United States should ban TikTok, not just on government electronic devices, but completely, everywhere within its borders. That’s it, I have said it. I have changed my position 180 degrees. That is after my children showed me some of the most influential “influencers” and most watched clips on the world-dominating social media platform. After watching many of them, images of the collapse and end of humanity and civilisation flashed before my mind. Frankly, I’d rather my children watch porn than this miasma of utter pointlessness, as that would at least make sense. The clips and people I refer to below are all watched and followed by millions on TikTok. Imagine those times had been collectively devoted to curing cancer or developing nuclear fusion for green energy. A young man is triggered to sing loudly by being clawed by his cat in every clip. A young girl who takes random photos of herself in the mirror for a time made her the most followed influencer with almost 120 million fans (yes, you read that right, not a typo). One youngster reduces a whole bag of Oreo biscuits into crumbs and then eats it all through his nose. A woman pretends to spend all day moving like a chicken. A man in heavy make-up splashes an enormous amount of Chanel’s eye shadow powder all over himself, which must have cost a fortune, assuming it’s really Chanel and not hot chocolate powder. EU commissioner warns TikTok over complying with strict digital rules Some of the most popular recent clips involve people cooking chickens in cough syrup, which led to a public health warning from the US Food and Drug Administration against the practice in September, while another has people moving like the demonically possessed girl in The Exorcist, with one man who keeps shouting, “Dad, I love you”. I hope the guy is an orphan, not because I want to be mean, but I just don’t think his father deserves to watch something like that of his son that can’t be unseen. Other trends include flapping your butt cheeks together to the beat of music; and surgically filing down your teeth and shaping them to look like those of animals; Dracula’s fangs are so passé. Some trends have caused deaths, of course, such as the “blackout challenge” that involves participants holding their breath until they pass out. While such deaths are unfortunate, it seems the greatest threat of TikTok is to make people brain-dead. Actually, I did follow some TikTokers for a time, but they tend to be proficient guitar and piano players, and real singers, while my wife, a painter, follows some artists. Invariably, though, such performers will only have a few hundred subscribers. It strikes me that there is an inverse relationship between talent and following on TikTok. Anything that involves real talents, skills and training will attract few viewers while those that require zero talent and no skill, and preferably to be as pointless as possible, will attract millions. In such an environment as social media, John Stuart Mill’s marketplace of ideas – in which good ones will be selected and bad ones fade out – is completely subverted by TikTok’s law of popularity. Nepal plane crash: crew member’s TikTok video goes viral in tribute to her life American politicians are probably right to want to ban it. It’s just that they are offering, perhaps deliberately, the wrong reason. As free speech is constitutionally protected in the US, they need to trump up a threat to national security. But it is seriously doubtful the personal data of TikTokers can be of any use to China’s military and intelligence services. The platform, though, is far more dangerous in that it is attempting to reverse the direction of evolution, and reduce American youth back to the intellectual levels of reptilians or even single-cell organisms. It’s hard not to suspect a nefarious Chinese communist plot somewhere. As much as I am critical of US foreign policy, I still agree with Mahatma Gandhi: Western – and American – civilisation would be a good idea. America, save your youth from TikTok!