The Software Cold War

When they come for us, they’ll be performing short, comedic, lip-synched, dance videos. Under a new Senate bill, Tik Tok would be banned on government devices. This is just the latest salvo in America’s cold war with the social media app owned by China’s Byte Dance. While the battle against Tik Tok may seem frivolous, there are several interesting layers to consider; from who can access your personal information to who will win and lose in the US social media landscape, heretofore dominated by Silicon Valley. “Experts in cybersecurity and Chinese tech make it clear that the issue is not black and white, and that serious concerns about national security are likely rooted not in xenophobia but in the fact that the Communist Party of China (CCP) under President Xi Jinping has a track record of surveillance, censorship, and data theft. There are also those who warn that the US banning TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps could set a dangerous precedent for a less free and open internet — ironically, the sort of internet modeled after that of China.” Rebecca Jennings in Vox. The case for and against banning TikTok. (If the federal government wants to pry Tik Tok from my eleven year-old daughter’s hands, it’s gonna take a lot more than camouflage, tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray. I know because I’ve already tried all that…)

+ Buzzfeed: Facebook’s Employees Reckon With the Social Network They’ve Built. “Come November, a portion of Facebook users will not trust the outcome of the election because they have been bombarded with messages on Facebook preparing them to not trust it.” (Debates about and within social networks make them seem more and more like the new nation states. This is where we live now.)

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