What’s the problem with China and TikTok?

Over the last few weeks, there has been a cultural firestorm over the viral video sharing app TikTok and a potential ban in the United States. TikTok’s usage surged during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns with millions of users finding reprieve during this difficult season of isolation and social distancing. My colleague Conrad Close and I recently wrote about this application that has taken the world by storm. It is the first major mobile application to be built specifically for the smartphone era and has been wildly successful, with rival social media companies seeking to catch up or even ride the momentum of its innovative approach to video sharing. From Instagram’s newly released Reels to the promised Youtube Shorts, major technology companies see the success of TikTok and desire to be a part of this shift in the way people connect and share information.

Alongside the enjoyable family dance videos, jokes, and even political activism on TikTok, there is a considerable threat to freedom, human rights, and personal privacy that often flies under the radar based on TikTok’s contentious relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their involvement with private companies. This is one of the main reasons that the United States government has been exploring options of banning or encouraging the sale of the U.S. TikTok operations to a non-Chinese company like Microsoft. 


The Rundown

Instagram Launches Reels, Its Attempt to Keep You Off TikTokThe Verge

With TikTok’s future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries. 

With ‘Mulan,’ Disney Tests Out Entirely New Early VOD ModelVariety

In another major blow to movie theaters, Disney announced “Mulan” will forgo its planned theatrical release. Instead, the live-action remake is premiering on Disney Plus on Sept. 4 for a premium rental price.

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Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

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Reports that the coronavirus could be transmitted by handling cash has given people another reason to steer clear of banknotes. Although untrue, the damage has been done, and a recent survey found that 75% of respondents expect to use cash less in the future.

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