TikTok being banned in the USA is not the issue

【Reporter Andys compiled the report】

TikTok being banned in the USA is not the issue. The fact is, this is a ban on any current or future successful technology owned by a potential adversary and, let’s not make any mistake about it, China, where the ownership of TikTok’s parent company sits, is considered to be the major adversary, for now and for no other reason than the fear that they may be.

Mud in the water is being stirred up because, the 「dreaded ccp」 could get its hands on the data collected by TikTok and who knows what they could do with that, probably the same as they do with the data they Can collect from our use of digitally connected fridges, cars, cranes, mobile phones, laptops, computers and anything else that’s connected, even though there’s no evidence anywhere that they might.

ByteDance has set up a separate company to comply with US laws, it houses all its data in the US, under US corporate supervision. It employes international, not Chinese, experts to run the company and the CEO, who has the 「misfortune」 to be of Chinese origin, has testified under oath that he is not affiliated with, nor has he ever been a member of the Communist Party, he’s testified under oath that he’s never been asked to provide information to the Communist Party of China and that, if asked, he would not comply.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, it isn’t about data protection, if it were, the US would need to completely isolate themselves from the rest of the world to protect their data, even Google and Meta, two of the largest 「data collection corporations」 in the world have not faced the same scrutiny. Meta was fined billions last year by the Irish government for a massive data breach because they transferred data to the US where Data Protection Laws are not strong enough.

In The Cambridge Analytica court case, where Facebook data was used to sway the results of an election, two senior engineers admitted, they don’t even know where Meta’s data is all stored.

Google is even more interesting, it has data storage centres all over the world including three in Asia, one of which is in Taiwan. They were also themselves charged but settled for almost half a billion dollars in the USA and fined in France for data protection breaches.

Bytedance received a fine over illegal medical advertising but as far as can be ascertained in this research has never been charged over data breaches.

Obviously, the issues with TikTok are not about data protection, there are already laws to protect data, Bytedance and TikTok have complied with them and have responded to every request by the US government to satisfy their insecurities.

What it is really about is far deeper than a national (in)security issue, it’s much more about a recognition, without any admission, that the very fabric of their society is in the process of being torn apart. The latest allegations to emerge prove this.

The same allegation has arisen in the UK too, China, through Douyin, the Chinese version, is apparently pushing teenagers toward educational and cultural content whereas TikTok, is directing the British and American youth towards addictive content designed to erode ambition and motivation.

The truth is, Douyin in China has similar content, it has bad dancing, lip-synching, make-up and other frivolous content and those videos are pushed out to people who enjoy watching them. But it also has a huge number of viewers interested in maths, space exploration, scientific experiments and they are promoted to viewers who enjoy watching them too.

It isn’t a stereotype to say that Chinese kids are more interested in these kinds of topics, take a look at any university program in the West and they will be filled with Asian kids getting Bachelor degrees, Masters and PhDs. Since long before TikTok and social media existed, Chinese kids were already filling those courses. The US Government told us this In 2007, China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest producer of natural sciences and engineering doctoral degrees. By 2020, the number from China and India had eclipsed the USA.

TikTok being banned in the USA is not the issue
TikTok being banned in the USA is not the issue

What has really taken place is not a Chinese plot to dumb down America, it’s a stated fact that the US is dumbing itself down, the National Centre for Educational Statistics reports there has been a decline in maths and reading as well as an increase in students seeking mental health services. While these problems have accelerated since the Covid Pandemic, they were identified well before. It seems TikTok’s algorithms are merely responding to the needs and desires of Americans in the same way they are responding to the needs and desires of Chinese viewers by providing them exactly what they want.

Putting education aside, the USA has found itself in what Queensland University of Technology Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell calls an Auto-immune deficiency, its own policies are eating away at the health of its society and systems. They want free speech; therefore, they don’t want legislation to protect their young people. They criticise China for 「censoring」 the internet but then criticise China’s social media for not allowing the dumbing down of its youth.

The USA has a generation addicted to social media but criticises China for limiting the time young people can spend on social media. Something MIT referred to as an 「Escalating war on kids screen time」.

What China has done is sensibly controlled and efficiently managed what kids can do online, what the US has done has created the conditions for the decline of its own society and would now like to blame the one country that’s done the opposite.

The US legislation to ban foreign ownership of social media will probably succeed and this is a bad thing. Bytedance (not the CPC) will need to make a decision. Sell, fight through the legal system, or close down and stop operating in the USA.

If Bytedance sells to a US corporation, it will not improve data security, it will not improve the quality of videos available to their young people, it will not turn around the decline in educational standards and it will not reduce social media addiction.

If Bytedance pulls out, their politicians will lose a lot more than the credibility that’s already bubbling down the drain; they will lose the votes of a great many young people. The US already has laws to protect data, it can create laws to improve what’s online and by doing so would reverse a worrying societal decline. That would however, meet intense resistance from US social media operators.

One must wonder whether the lawmakers themselves have been dumbed down to a point where common sense no longer prevails!

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