TikTok Money, Politics & Security: SMC 1(11)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

TikTok Money, Politics & Security

At first glance, TikTok may seem fun, but the popular app was a gold mine for new social media influencers. TMZ reported that Sean, also known as @seandoesmagic, "has 13.5 million followers, says the China-based app shutting down would be financially crushing because he makes $15,000 to $20,000 per sponsored post."

The threat to ban TikTok is coming from the Trump Administration, lawmakers and now Amazon. Yahoo!

reports that Amazon employees had been asked to delete the app from mobile phones used for company email. Amazon "told U.S. employees to remove TikTok from all mobile devices connected to Amazon email by the end of the day, or lose access to their email." Later that day, the AP reported that Amazon reversed itself: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error... There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

Axios framed the story "amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing." TikTok owner ByteDance is said to raise data security issues for individuals, companies and the U.S. government. India already has responded with a broad ban of Chinese apps.

Currently, China, India and the U.S. have the three largest number of Internet and social media users. Politico concluded that the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic dramatically grew TokTok audience size and critics: “The alarm bells have gone off from a number of different perspectives, in a bipartisan way, and we want to get to the bottom of the problems,” House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky said.

The #BlckLivesMatter movement also has gained momentum through TikTok videos produced by users among many demographic groups.

At the same time, the Chinese government attempted to cut access in Hong Kong to TikTok and other social media apps in response to political protests.

Question: How should the U.S. with its First Amendment freedoms respond to security threats posed by TikTok and other software with connections to China and other nations?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • A "BlueLeaks" server that stored Houston, Texas police and FBI records dating back to 1996 was seized in Germany, the Associated Press reported. Email addresses and phone numbers reportedly were not redacted, but some identities in the stolen documents were protected. Officials in Germany and the U.S. refused comment on the significant hacking data breach.
  • In London, "privacy watchdogs in Britain and Australia have opened a joint investigation into facial recognition company Clearview AI over its use of personal data 'scraped'  off social media platforms and other websites," AP reported. “The investigation highlights the importance of enforcement cooperation in protecting the personal information of Australian and U.K. citizens in a globalised data environment,” the regulators said in a brief statement.
  • President Trump's Twitch channel is back after a suspension for two weeks, Business Insider reports. "Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch," the statement said. "In line with our policies, President Trump's channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed."
ICYMI:Zoom Adds Waiting Room and Password Requirements
The soaring popularity of Zoom video conferencing software during the Covid-19 "stay at home" efforts forced app updates. Previous options to have a waiting room and password are now required, after "Zoom bombers" entered open rooms and disrupted meetings. In some cases, participants were attacked with pornographic content. 

The Citizen Lab issued a report suggesting that the app also suffered from weak encryption, and the company hired less expensive programmers located in China.

At the same time, Wired readers were encouraged to learn how to become Zoom power users by learning its large number of available settings.

Question: What legal and ethical issues exist for schools and businesses moving classrooms and offices to Zoom spaces?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

No comments: