A gross invasion of free speech. Even banning it on government devices is dubious and and a wider ban would undoubtedly fall foul of SCOTUS. The fact that is is Chinese-owned seems to be the problem for legislators. Sounds racist to me. Racism and paranoia generally go together. For once, AOC speaks sense
TikTok can't seem to catch a break. For years, the app has operated under the distant threat of a nationwide ban or forced sale. Now, mounting security and privacy concerns are prompting lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to debate its future.
Last week, the short-form video platform with 150 million active users in the U.S. made headlines amid a highly publicized congressional hearing that brought TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew face to face with some of his toughest critics. Five palpably tense hours of questioning illuminated very little about what, if anything, Chew can do to quell lawmakers' fears. Earlier this month, the Biden administration reportedly delivered an ultimatum to the app's Chinese parent company, ByteDance: Sell their shares in TikTok to an American company or accept the ban as punishment. Multiple pieces of legislation empowering Biden to enact such a ban have been introduced.
The implication, of course, is that Chinese ownership poses an existential threat to American democracy by putting our personal data and our recommendations algorithms within the Chinese government's grasp. ByteDance has been credibly accused of surveilling at least two American journalists last year. But having an American tech company handle your data doesn't inherently make it safer. Facebook brought one of the biggest tech scandals of the 2010s stateside by allowing a British political consulting firm to intercede in the 2016 presidential election.
TikTok is in the regulatory hot seat right now. The app is already banned from all government-issued devices, as well as state-owned devices in more than half of the country. Several universities have gone so far as to block TikTok from campus Wifi networks and a host of other countries are enforcing partial or total bans of their own.
But the platform has the tide of public favor to buoy it. As Congress grilled and interrupted Chew throughout his testimony, the internet mocked lawmakers for being out of touch. Tweets confessing to feeling thirsty for the embattled CEO went viral. Dozens of creators gathered on Capitol Hill in a show of support for the platform. And Janette Ok, the lifestyle influencer behind @inmyseams, was among them.
“Each of these platforms have magic to them," Ok tells Glamour. "And the magic of TikTok is the ability to create community and to feel seen and heard by those that you don't even know. More than any other social media platform, TikTok gives the user the opportunity to become the creator. No other app allows the creator to film a video, chop it up, add music, make transitions, but do all that stuff within the single app. That revolutionized social media as a whole landscape.”
That doesn't mean TikTok is irreplaceable, Ok says. At the end of the day, she's not a TikTok creator—she's a content creator. But TikTok, with its built-in editing software and extensive audio library, had a special way of convincing regular people to experiment with and participate in creator culture.
“What we're going to lose is the opportunity to be curious," Ok says. "When I started on TikTok, I felt like I was following a formula for my Instagram feed. I was literally planning my grid. I was planning a neutral aesthetic. I was using the same filters. I was really trying to gain a following by copying somebody else's aesthetics. On TikTok, it really challenged me to figure out what it meant to be myself.”
V Spehar, the TikTok creator behind “Under the Desk News,” says that after attending the hearing they feel “more confident now than ever that a ban is not on the table.” But the bill Biden is “very in favor” of passing—also known as the Restrict Act—could set a dangerous precedent for government overreach and censorship. (Which are, ironically, the very threats to national security lawmakers hope to mitigate with this measure.)
“Congress is trying to use fear of a potential for an adversary to convince the American public to hand over a huge amount of control of all of their privacy to the government,” Spehar says. “They're going to give themselves the power to ban any technology or any potential threat that they deem vaguely unsafe…They're using this TikTok ban and xenophobia as a Trojan horse to get this bill across the line here, which just gives them incredible power. They don't care about TikTok because they don't understand it.”
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is one of a scant number lawmakers who have chosen to support TikTok. In a post, the progressive Democrat warned against taking drastic measures before without evidence that they're necessary. Members of Congress, she says, have not been briefed on any national security threats stemming from the platform.
My other blogs. Main ones below:
http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)
http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)
http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)
http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)
http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)
https://immigwatch.blogspot.com/ (IMMIGRATION WATCH)
https://awesternheart.blogspot.com/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)
http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs