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TikTok Offers Desperate Concession to Avoid Widespread Bans in America: Report

The social media titan TikTok appears to be offering something akin to a mea culpa in the face of heightening scrutiny. According to both Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal, the wildly popular social media app has made some massive concessions in a bid to avoid even more widespread bans in America. TikTok has offered to “increase its transparency by granting U.S. officials oversight of its algorithms as part of a $1.5 billion reorganization of its U.S. operation,” per Fox. That offer comes amid a wave of criticism being hurled at the video-sharing app. This newfound offer of transparency appears to be a direct result of concerns that TikTok was allowing sensitive user data to be accessed by the Chinese government. According to Fox, concerns “surrounding the popular social media site grew following a report last year that a TikTok team in China accessed data of U.S. TikTok users.” The understandable backlash to that breach of security has led to multiple states, including Texas, Maryland, South Carolina and New Jersey to ban the use of TikTok on state-owned devices and networks. Congress has also banned the use of TikTok on federal government devices. Will this new bid for transparency be able to assuage the ongoing concerns over user data safety? That’s a question that those aforementioned U.S. officials will have to answer. A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the algorithm and security measures of TikTok will likely provide some peace of mind, at the very least. But there’s also the concerns about what TikTok represents, in general, that no amount of transparency will ever be able to cover up. There’s just no way around it: The overwhelming data points to TikTok being dangerous — and not just in the realm of cybersecurity. No, TikTok is actually detrimental to its users, and it’s got nothing to do with whether or not Xi Jinping can look at your personal information. Some of the “trends” to have emerged from TikTok have been genuinely deadly, like the concept of “NyQuil Chicken” or the “Kia Challenge.” Yes, it’s easy to chuckle or spare a laugh at the idea of someone dumb enough to marinade their poultry in NyQuil. It’s classic Darwinism. But it’s also sobering to realize that there are, in fact, young and impressionable people on TikTok who will think that risking death is worth a fleeting moment of virality on social media. Perhaps the most damning report about TikTok: The company purportedly saved and used explicit imagery, oftentimes involving children, for training purposes (reportedly due to them needing to show their employees what illegal content looks like). “I was moderating and thinking: This is someone’s son. This is someone’s daughter. And these parents don’t know that we have this picture, this video, this trauma, this crime saved,” one moderator told Forbes. This is all to say: There are quite a few negatives about TikTok, even after removing those security concerns. Given that, these concessions don’t seem like nearly enough to justify the continued use of the social media app in the U.S. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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