Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives increased the likelihood of a ban on TikTok by inserting a bill into an emergency foreign aid package. The bill calls for TikTok’s China-based parent ByteDance to sell the the video social media app to an American company or face a national ban of the app. The House plans to vote on the package today.

The move turned up the heat on the multifaceted debate over banning the app. Largely missing from that debate, however, is the bigger picture of the threat to U.S. democracy from misinformation and foreign influence. UMass Boston technology ethicist Nir Eisikovits explains why the threat is not unique to TikTok, what’s at the root of the problem, and how a group of Boston teenagers could be part of the solution.

This week we also liked articles about incarcerated firefighters, Taylor Swift’s nod to Clara Bow, and the quest to find signs of life on icy moons.

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Eric Smalley

Science + Technology Editor

Tiktok is not the only social media app to pose the threats it’s been accused of. picture alliance via Getty Images

TikTok fears point to larger problem: Poor media literacy in the social media age

Nir Eisikovits, UMass Boston

If the US wants to protect young people from misinformation and foreign influence, focusing on TikTok is barking up the wrong tree.

The likelihood of graduating from college is linked to the type of college a student attends. Ariel Skelley via Getty Images

Graduation rates for low-income students lag while their student loan debt soars

Robert Samuels, University of California, Santa Barbara

Nearly half of all students who enroll in college never finish. Are colleges and universities to blame?

Clara Bow appeared in 58 films in just over a decade. John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Taylor Swift’s homage to Clara Bow

Deirdre Clemente, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Annie Delgado, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The star of the 1920s silver screen who appears on Taylor Swift’s new album abruptly left Hollywood at the height of her success – a middle finger to the men whom she had made rich and powerful.

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