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TikTok Controversies Continue – America Wants it Banned


American lawmakers are moving to pass new legislation to ban, or at least limit, the use of the popular media app TikTok. Senator Mark Warner (Democrat from Virginia) said that he will introduce new legislation banning – or at the very least prohibiting the use of – foreign-controlled social media technology, including TikTok, as well as certain types of games and other apps. But why?

It is due to concerns over the Chinese owners of TikTok, Byte Dance may be using the app to steal information from its users and to basically spy on Americans.

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Senator Warner said of TikTok in an interview on Fox News, “They are taking data from Americans, not keeping it safe, but what worries me more with TikTok is that this can be a propaganda tool to basically – the kind of videos you see would promote ideological issues.”

“I think for a long time, the conventional wisdom was, the more you bring China into the world order, the more they’re going to change, and that assumption was just plain wrong,” added Warner.

Last December, the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring that TikTok be banned from all government devices.

There is nothing new about these types of concerns over the Chinese owned TikTok. When in office President Trump took measures to prohibit its use by federal employees and tried to have the app banned entirely in the US. And last summer America’s FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr issued an open letter calling on both Goggle and Apple to block the TikTok app from their respective operating systems.

And this is all in addition to the general condemnations of all social media apps like TikTok for how they can be harmful to youth and are deliberately addictive with their scrolls. TikTok recently tried to make some changes in response to these sorts of complaints. For example, the company said that it would implement a new rule that would limit its users who are under the age of 18 to just one hour a day on the platform. But not really, because underage users will be able to enter a code in order to continue scrolling away after their one hour limit is up.

But TikTok says that this will help because it will require a user to stop scrolling and take a break for however long it takes to go through the process of entering the code.

Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust and Safety, TikTok, said in a statement about the change, “We want our community to feel in control of their TikTok experience. In addition to bringing these new features to Family Pairing, everyone will soon be able to set their own customized screen time limits for each day of the week and set a schedule to mute notifications.”

TikTok will also release a sleep reminder the company said will help people “more easily plan when they want to be offline at night” by setting a time when a pop-up will remind them it’s time to log off.

The banning of TikTok on government devices would not really hurt the company’s bottom line that much. This is because government employees who have a government issued phone or tablet probably also have their own private devices on which they could still use TikTok. And any such workers are all obviously over 21 and much older, so these are not the core users of TikTok.

But TikTok is clearly concerned about any broader bans on its use by people in America. Even if it just in the U.S. the company would lose a fortune. And a similar ban in the EU would not be far off.



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