TikTok: A Murky, Poorly Lit Space

April 15, 2022

TikTok, according to its champions, is in the words of Ernie (Endurance) Hemingway:

You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant café. It is well lighted. (Quote from “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”)

No, I understand. If the information in “TikTok under US Government Investigation on Child Sexual Abuse Material” is on the money, the Department of Justice and the US Department of Homeland Security, TikTok may not be a “clean and pleasant café.”

The paywalled story says that TikTok is a digital watering hole for bad actors who have an unusually keen interest in young people. The write up points out that TikTok is sort of trying to deal with its content stream. However, there is the matter of a connection with China and that country’s interest in metadata. Then there is the money which just keeps flowing and growing. (Facebook and Google are now breathing TikTok’s diesel exhaust. Those sleek EV-loving companies are forced to stop and recharge as the TikTok tractor trailer barrels down the information highway.

For those Sillycon Valley types who see TikTok as benign, check out some of TikTok’s offers to young people. Give wlw a whirl. Oh, and the three letters work like a champ on YouTube. Alternatively ask some young people. Yeah, that’s a super idea, isn’t it. Now about unclean, poorly illuminated digital spaces.

Stephen E Arnold, April 15, 2022


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