Distributed by curators in Business | Social Media | Politics
TikTok’s Likely Banning and the World War Over Technology
How a ban on TikTok can make Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaires even richer
One of the creators on TikTok, Will Mahony, says, “The concept of TikTok getting banned in the US is a scary thing to me and a lot of other creators I know.” Will has an audience of around 1.4 million on his account. “A lot of people’s careers are relying almost completely on TikTok. Teenagers, in general, would also be devastated, the vast majority of people I know use TikTok for hours a day for memes, drama, and even politics.”
As TikTok creators are panicking, Mark Zuckerberg’s is celebrating crossing $100 billion mark as optimism pushed stocks up after the news that Facebook is going to launch TikTok’s competitor, Reels.
A ban on TikTok is likely because Donald Trump has issued bans on US companies doing business with its parent company, ByteDance. This step is a part of the ongoing world tech war.
Since its launch in September 2016, users have downloaded TikTok more than two billion times. It has surpassed Instagram, and YouTube, in engagement time in the United States.
As economies are increasingly relying on tech, this war is going to get worse. Greater use of online services during the lockdown has benefited technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
A month of uncertainty
Microsoft is negotiating for the acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The creators are afraid and trying to live with the uncertainty. “I like TikTok because I’ve made a small platform for myself here,” another user Matthew Yescas, who has almost 5,600 followers, said in an interview. “So when I saw that they were trying to ban TikTok, I was so disappointed because I had amassed a pretty decent following and met a lot of online friends.”
ByteDance — TikTok’s parent company, has to sell its US operations to Microsoft or Apple. Or it will be banned — the deadline is September 15.
Is it unfair to ban TikTok
Despite what the creators feel, you must see this ban as an overdue response, in the battle to keep the internet open for all.
Tim Wu writes in The New York Times, that, in China, YouTube and WhatsApp have been forbidden for many years.
Chinese government uses censors, blocks, and monitors the internet traffic. It violates every principle of an open internet. China keeps its doors closed while the Chinese companies enjoy open markets everywhere in the world.
China supports Net Nationalism, and sees the internet as a tool to maintain its political authority. Chinese government thinks that the role of the internet is economic growth and thought-control.
TikTok is dangerous by design
Steve Huffman, Reddit CEO and co-founder, described it as a “parasitic app that is always listening” and he called it a “spyware.”
Apple has declared that it has caught TikTok using clipboard capture mechanisms to spy on millions of users.
Enrique Dans advises to “avoid it like the plague.” He says it is “dangerous by design.” Though, some people still believe that TikTok is not stealing data despite the advice of the experts.
TikTok was banned in India
The authorities claimed that the apps were illegally collecting personal information of the users.
Instagram’s new Reels feature, an alternative to TikTok, had one of its first launches in India.
After the ban, Reels is quickly expanding its fan base because Indians already love Instagram and Facebook. TikTok had more than 600 million active users in the country.
But the creators are worried in India too. Reels will take time. According to an article in the Wired, “Not only did Indians love TikTok, but the app had recently become an effective tool to mobilize for protests and other forms of social education and organization.”
Should the billionaires pay more tax
This war is to protect the tech sector that is earning more money than ever before.
The five tech giants in the US — Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft — have market valuations that are equal to 30% of the US gross domestic product. Their value has roughly doubled in the past two years.
Zuckerberg’s wealth grew by $22 billion this year, while Bezos’s net worth has surged by $75 billion, taking his wealth to $194 billion. Bill Gates has a net worth of $112 billion.
As billionaires get wealthier by the day, Senator Bernie Sanders wants to introduce a new law, “Make Billionaires Pay Act.”
The law would force a 60% tax on the wealth increases of the super-rich to pay for the healthcare expenses of US citizens.
Governments of the world are looking for opportunities to levy more taxes as tech giants are getting richer. Pony Ma, the CEO of Tencent Holdings Ltd., earned an additional $17 billion, increasing his wealth to $55 billion. Mukesh Ambani, from India, has grown richer by $22 billion, taking his net worth to $80.3 billion. His company Reliance Industries Ltd. received investments from Facebook and Silver Lake, a global technology investment firm.
A ban on TikTok would not be unfair. Though, millions of TikTok creators are going to become digital refugees in this tech war.
While China bans international sources of news, religious guidance, and other information, it is trying to use the internet to weaken the American people’s faith in the democratic process.
It is hard to say who is nastier in the surveillance department, the US or China. My personal opinion is that we still enjoy a lot of freedom. We have an almost open internet. If you compare the surveillance of internet users with Chinese agencies, it is nearly non-existent in the US.
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