Adulting Desperation at TikTok? More of a PR Play for Sure

March 1, 2023

TikTok is allegedly harvesting data from its users and allegedly making that data accessible to government-associated research teams in China. The story “TikTok to Set One-Hour Daily Screen Time Limit by Default for Users under 18” makes clear that TikTok is in concession mode. The write up says:

TikTok announced Wednesday that every user under 18 will soon have their accounts default to a one-hour daily screen time limit, in one of the most aggressive moves yet by a social media company to prevent teens from endlessly scrolling….

Now here’s the part I liked:

Teenage TikTok users will be able to turn off this new default setting… [emphasis added]

The TikTok PR play misses the point. Despite the yip yap about Oracle as an intermediary, the core issue is suspicion that TikTok is sucking down data. Some of the information can be cross correlated with psychological profiles. How useful would it be to know that a TikTok behavior suggests a person who may be susceptible to outside pressure, threats, or bribes. No big deal? Well, it is a big deal because some young people enlist in the US military and others take jobs at government entities. How about those youthful contractors swarming around Executive Branch agencies’ computer systems, Congressional offices, and some interesting facilities involved with maps and geospatial work?

I have talked about TikTok risks for years. Now we get a limit on usage?

Hey, that’s progress like making a square wheel out of stone.

Stephen E Arnold, March 1, 2023


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