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Tiktok dance – Can a Chinese algorithm conquer Congress?

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US Congress took a significant step towards curbing the influence of TikTok, as legislators voted overwhelmingly to compel its sale.

Amid mounting concerns over national security and the app’s role in disseminating information, the House of Representatives passed a bill with a decisive 362-65 vote, demanding ByteDance to divest TikTok within 180 days to avoid app stores distributing it.

While TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew expressed bewilderment over the move, citing a lack of clarity on the company’s alleged wrongdoing, lawmakers have long voiced apprehensions about a Chinese-owned platform gaining prominence among American youth, with fears ranging from data privacy to electoral interference.

The bill’s passage marks a significant bipartisan effort, highlighting widespread concerns about TikTok’s influence and ByteDance’s ties to the Chinese government.

Despite TikTok’s assertions of independence and claims of implementing safeguards to protect user data, critics argue that the app’s growing role as a news source and its algorithmic biases raise serious questions about its operations.

Legal challenges

TikTok’s efforts to mobilise users in lobbying against the bill and its history of legal challenges, reminiscent of past clashes with the Trump administration, underscore the company’s determination to defend its position in the US market.

However, the bill’s fate in the Senate remains uncertain, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer yet to indicate the chamber’s stance.

While several senators have expressed support for the measure, including key figures from both parties such as Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, the threshold for its passage remains unclear.

TikTok’s executives, skeptical of the bill’s prospects, anticipate a tough battle in the Senate, with potential legal challenges looming should the legislation advance. Moreover, former President Donald Trump’s recent opposition to the bill, citing concerns over its impact on rival social media platforms, adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing debate.

Negotiate a deal

For TikTok, the stakes are high, with potential ramifications extending beyond the US market.

Past attempts to negotiate deals, including discussions with Microsoft and Oracle, have faltered, and ByteDance’s reluctance to divest TikTok further complicates the situation.

As investors grapple with uncertainty and internal frustrations mount, TikTok’s future hangs in the balance, with global bans and regulatory challenges posing additional hurdles to its operations.

Amidst mounting pressure and dwindling morale among employees, TikTok finds itself at a crossroads, grappling with the prospect of a forced sale and navigating a turbulent regulatory landscape.

While TikTok’s fate remains uncertain, the battle for its future underscores broader geopolitical tensions and concerns surrounding tech platforms’ influence, raising fundamental questions about data privacy, national security, and corporate governance in the digital age.

As legislators weigh the implications of their actions and TikTok confronts existential challenges, the outcome of this high-stakes standoff will shape the future of social media regulation.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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TikTok launches Instagram competitor ‘Notes’

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TikTok Notes has launched in Australia & Canada as a formidable competitor to Instagram, offering a unique platform for content creation, text and sharing.

“TikTok Notes is a lifestyle platform that offers informative photo-text content about people’s lives, where you can see individuals sharing their travel tips and daily recipes,” reads the official App Store description.

Take note

The app allows users to create content by combining short videos with text-based notes, closely resembling that of Meta’s Instagram.

Whether it’s sharing a quick tutorial, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking message, TikTok Notes is positioned to be a formidable social media platform.

Currently, the app is only available for download and “limited testing” in Australia and Canada.

As it gains momentum, the platform is poised to contest Instagram’s established reign in the social media landscape.

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Ramifications of a TikTok ban to impact Open Internet

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The United States’ longstanding advocacy for an open internet faces a critical juncture as Congress considers legislation targeting TikTok.

The proposed measures, including a forced sale or outright ban of TikTok, have sparked concerns among digital rights advocates and global observers about the implications for internet freedom and international norms.

For decades, the U.S. has championed the concept of an unregulated internet, advocating for the free flow of digital data across borders.

However, the move against TikTok, a platform with 170 million U.S. users, has raised questions about the consistency of America’s stance on internet governance.

Read more – Big tech to handover misinformation data

Critics fear that actions against TikTok could set a precedent for other countries to justify their own internet censorship measures.

Russian blogger Aleksandr Gorbunov warned that Russia could use the U.S. decision to justify further restrictions on platforms like YouTube.

Similarly, Indian lawyer Mishi Choudhary expressed concerns that a U.S. ban on TikTok would embolden the Indian government to impose additional crackdowns on internet freedoms.

Moreover, the proposed legislation could complicate U.S. efforts to advocate for an internet governed by international organizations rather than individual countries.

China, in particular, has promoted a vision of internet sovereignty, advocating for greater national control over online content.

A TikTok ban could undermine America’s credibility in urging other countries to embrace a more open internet governed by global standards.

 

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BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says AI leads to higher wages

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Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock Inc., has outlined his vision for the impact of the firm’s investment in artificial intelligence.

During the company’s recent earnings call, Fink emphasized the connection between productivity gains driven by AI and the potential for rising wages among BlackRock’s workforce.

He explained the firm’s ambition to leverage AI technology to enhance efficiency, enabling employees to accomplish more with fewer resources.

Fink’s remarks underscore BlackRock’s strategic approach to harnessing AI as a tool for optimising operations and driving organisational growth.

Read more – Australia’s productivity gap widens

By leveraging AI-driven productivity enhancements, the company aims to empower its employees to deliver greater value, thereby paving the way for wage increases across the organisation.

The CEO’s statement reflects a broader trend in the intersection of technology and labor dynamics, where advancements in AI and automation have the potential to reshape workforce dynamics and compensation structures.

Fink’s optimism about the transformative impact of AI investment on employee wages highlights BlackRock’s commitment to embracing technological innovation as a catalyst for sustainable business growth and employee prosperity.

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