Archive for TikTok

Guest Post: Supporting Youth And Families On TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 17, 2020 by itnerd

By Tracy Elizabeth, Global Minor Safety Policy Lead, and Alexandra Evans, Head of Child Safety Public Policy, Europe

Parenting a teen’s digital life can be daunting, and we often hear that parents and other caregivers feel as though they’re playing catch up when it comes to the latest technology and apps their teens use. That’s why we regularly speak to parents and teens and work with family and youth experts to develop meaningful ways for parents to support their teens on TikTok. Our aim is to strike a balance between safety and autonomy for teenagers as we work to create a safe and supportive place for self-expression. 

With that in mind, earlier this year we introduced Family Pairing, which lets parents link their TikTok account to their teen’s to enable a variety of content and privacy settings. We’ve now expanded this feature to give parents greater oversight and families a more robust set of tools to create the TikTok experience that’s right for them.  

Using Family Pairing, parents can help guide their teen’s browsing experience with the following controls: 

  • Search [NEW]: Decide whether your teen can search for content, users, hashtags, or sounds
  • Screen Time Management: Set how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day
  • Restricted Mode: Limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for a general audience in your teen’s For You feed

As young people start to build a presence online, we believe it’s important to give families tools so parents and teens can set guardrails together. Our expanded Family Pairing feature now includes:

  • Comments [NEW]: Decide who can comment on your teen’s videos (everyone, friends, no one)
  • Discoverability [NEW]: Decide whether your teen’s account is private (your teen decides who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content)
  • Liked Videos [NEW]: Many people enjoy finding new videos to watch that others they follow have also enjoyed, but this control empowers families to decide whether others can see the list of videos your teen has liked
  • Direct Messages: Restrict who can send messages to your teen, or turn off direct messaging completely. With user safety in mind, we also have many policies and controls on messaging. For example, direct messaging is automatically disabled for those under 16 and images and videos cannot be sent in messages.

Every family is different. Some may choose to use Family Pairing only when their teen starts on TikTok; others may choose to stay connected to their teen’s account for longer; and even without Family Pairing enabled, teens can always take advantage of these tools by selecting them individually through their app settings. Whatever parents and teens decide is right for them, we hope Family Pairing will encourage families to have broader conversations about digital safety.

In addition to our tools for families, we continue to strengthen our youth safety and well-being policies. For instance, we recently added more guidelines and resources to support body positivity in our community, and we remove harmful content like hateful ideologies.

We’ve also developed global partnerships to protect against child exploitation as we remove such content, terminate accounts, and report cases the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and law enforcement. Protecting minors – online and offline – is vitally important and requires collaboration between platforms, governments, and child safety organizations. That’s why we’ve endorsed implementation of the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, which offers a framework that can be consistently applied across digital sectors and services to respond to changing behaviors and protect young people.

For families who want to learn more about online safety, we’ve created a number of resources, including our Youth PortalParents pageeducational safety videos, and more. We’re committed to the safety of our community – especially youth – on TikTok and will continue to develop resources, tools, and policies as we aim for the highest level of safety.

TikTok Dodges Trump Death Sentence For Now

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 13, 2020 by itnerd

It seems that the Trump Administration is kind of busy at the moment as they appear to have backed of taking out TikTok. At least for now:

The deadline for “national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved,” as prescribed in the Commerce Department’s September order, was Thursday, November 12. But, per the Wall Street Journal, they’re now delaying the implementation of the ban, which would make it illegal for companies to enable “the functioning or optimization” of the app, effectively rendering it impossible to use in the United States. (TikTok denies allegations that it is sharing information with the Chinese government.) The delay comes not just because the Trump administration is busy trying to force a second term, but also “pending further legal developments.” Specifically, the Department cited a preliminary injunction against the shutdown last month in Philadelphia. In a suit brought by TikTokers Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alex Chambers, a judge decided the government action “presents a threat to the ‘robust exchange of informational materials,’” and likely exceeds the government’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the order Trump used to take action against TikTok, WeChat, and more.

This TikTok thing has been a clown show from the start. That’s not to say that TikTok doesn’t have issues because they do. But the way this has been handled by the Trump Administration has been shambolic. I would not at all be surprised if this magically goes away as Trump and company have larger issues to deal with at the moment.

TikTok Says the Trump Administration Has Forgotten About Trying To Ban it… And They Would Like To Know Why

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 11, 2020 by itnerd

TikTok has filed a petition in a US Court of Appeals calling for a review of actions by the Trump administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The reason, according to the company, is that it hasn’t heard from the committee in weeks about an imminent deadline for parent company ByteDance to sell off US assets over national security concerns:

The CFIUS set the deadline of November 12th for TikTok to divest itself of “any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance’s operation of the TikTok application in the United States.” TikTok says it applied for a 30-day extension that was allowed for in the CFIUS’ order, but hasn’t received any communication on the matter. It’s not clear what would actually happen if the deadline passed; TikTok was granted a preliminary injunction against it late last month.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Trump and his fellow Republicans have bigger issues at the moment which is why they’ve ghosted Tik Tok. Like disputing the election results for example. Besides that possibility, there’s also the fact that the Trump administration has been bad at dealing with the day-to-day operations of government. So I would not be at all surprised if this issue goes away really soon.

Tik Tok Ban Shot Down In Court

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 2, 2020 by itnerd

Forbes reports that TikTok “cannot be shut down in the United States next month, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Friday afternoon, the latest setback in President Donald Trump’s push to force the Chinese-owned app to be transferred to American ownership.” Here’s the details:

In an August executive order that labeled TikTok a national security threat, Trump required Beijing-based tech company ByteDance to sell its popular short-form video app to an American firm by Nov. 12, or else the federal government would enforce restrictions on data transfers that effectively make the app unusable. Pennsylvania Judge Wendy Beetlestone blocked that order Friday, issuing a preliminary injunction while the court considers a lawsuit brought by several TikTok content creators.

Beetlestone said Trump probably doesn’t have the power to block TikTok: he tried to force a sale using a 43-year-old law that gives him broad power over international transactions that pose threats to national security, but that law exempts “informational materials” like artwork and news, a category Beetlestone said includes TikTok videos…

The U.S. Department of Commerce plans to comply with Beetlestone’s injunction, but it will “vigorously defend” Trump’s executive order from this legal challenge, a spokesperson told Forbes.

Well good luck with that. Like a lot of Trump’s executive orders, this one is getting shot out of the sky. At least for now. And I am going to go out on limb and suggest that the executive order hasn’t got long to live. Though I suspect that Trump has bigger issues to deal with at the moment and Tik Tok is the least of his problems.

Trump Appeals TikTok Ruling

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2020 by itnerd

The The Trump administration on Thursday appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on TikTok, the viral video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Here’s what The New York Times says:

In a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Justice Department argued that a preliminary injunction issued last month by Judge Carl Nichols in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia should be lifted. A Justice Department spokeswoman said it had no further comment beyond the appeal. TikTok declined to comment. It was not immediately clear when the court might act on the government’s appeal. 

The government’s decision to appeal the injunction, which delayed TikTok from being banned in U.S. app stores, further escalates the battle between the White House and ByteDance. The move is part of a Cold War between the United States and the Chinese government. The Chinese government has for years prevented its citizens from using international apps like Facebook, Twitter and other communications services. Since President Trump took office, he has repeatedly moved to stop Chinese companies from investing in and acquiring American companies. Citing national security concerns, the administration has also sought to stop American citizens from using Chinese-owned apps and has worked to banish Chinese technology and hardware from American telecommunications networks.

Clearly Trump and company isn’t willing to let this go. No shock there. Trump doesn’t exactly have a good record when it comes to appeals like this. Thus I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they don’t get the result that they are looking for. But we will see.

Trump “Likely Exceeded” His Legal Authority By Trying To Ban TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 29, 2020 by itnerd

Things are not looking good for the Trump administration. The judge who on Sunday halted the TikTok ban dropped this on President Trump yesterday:

The federal judge who blocked the White House’s ban on TikTok downloads in the U.S. Sunday night said the Trump administration “likely exceeded the lawful bounds” of the powers afforded to the president under the the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

President Trump invoked the IEEPA in his executive order to ban TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, in the United States. The law is designed to let the president take emergency action to prohibit business transactions with an entity that represents “an unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.”

However, the IEEPA includes two exceptions — both of which apply to TikTok, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols of the District of Columbia wrote in his opinion, which was unsealed Monday.


As cited by the judge, the IEEPA does not give the president authority to regulate or prohibit, either directly or indirectly, “the importation or exportation of ‘information or informational materials” or “personal communication[s], which do[] not involve a transfer of anything of value.”

Well…. That’s not good if you are President Trump. And it may mean that TikTok may live on in the US. While I expect this to play out in court this week, I also have a sneaking suspicion that the Trump administration may end up losing this fight in the end.

BREAKING: Judge Stops Trump From Banning TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 27, 2020 by itnerd

Earlier today I commented on the fact that TikTok was set to be banned unless there was yet another plot twist in this story. Well, we have another plot twist. A judge just stopped President Trump from banning TikTok on US app stores:

A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked President Trump’s TikTok ban, granting a temporary reprieve to the wildly popular video-sharing app.

During a telephone court hearing on Sunday, lawyers for TikTok argued that Trump’s clampdown infringed on free speech and due process rights. 

John Hall, an attorney for TikTok, argued that the app, with some 100 million American users, is a “modern day version of the town square” and shutting it down is akin to silencing speech.

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, responded by halting the ban, which was set to kick in at midnight Sunday.

Trump is likely to lose his mind on Twitter over this latest plot twist as he’s already having a bad day with his tax returns being found by The New York Times which shows him bleeding cash for years like a gunshot victim in Compton Ca. and avoid taxes like he avoided COVID-19. His response on Twitter along with how the US Government response is to this will be interesting to watch.

Judge Shoots Down TikTok Creators Request To Stop Trump’s Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 27, 2020 by itnerd

The Verge is reporting that a last minute attempt by three TikTok creators to stop President Trumps attempts to ban it as been rejected:

A judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a request from three TikTok content creators to temporarily block a ban on the app set to go into effect Sunday night, which would bar new downloads from Google and Apple’s app stores in the US. 

Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers said they “earn a livelihood from the content they post on TikTok,” saying the platform’s “For You” page is unique among social media platforms, because its algorithm allows “little-known creators to show their content to a large audience,” according to the court filing. 

Judge Wendy Beetlestone said that the ban would pose “undoubtedly an inconvenience,” but said in denying the request that the three had failed to prove they would suffer “immediate, irreparable harm” if new downloads are barred, since the app would remain operational for current subscribers —at least for the time being—if the ban takes effect. “They will still be able to create, publish, and share content for their millions of current followers,” the judge wrote in her opinion.

So it looks like at this point TikTok will be banned from being American app stores tonight. Barring some other plot twist that I don’t see coming. Which is entirely possible.

TikTok Files Lawsuit To Halt Download Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 23, 2020 by itnerd

You might recall that TikTok tried to file a lawsuit to stop President Trump from banning it. Well they voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. Presumably because Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle were trying to buy them. Ultimately they cut a deal with Oracle and Walmart. But that wasn’t enough to stop Trump from banning the app. So now TikTok is back in court to stop that from happening. Variety has the details:

As a deal deciding the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, the Chinese-owned video app is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the Trump administration’s order that would ban app stores from carrying TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 27.

TikTok alleges that Trump cited “national security” concerns as a pretext for trying to shut down the app in the absence of a deal to transfer ownership of TikTok to American buyers. The company, per its motion, claims the president was motivated “by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election.”

“There is simply no genuine emergency here that would justify the government’s precipitous actions,” TikTok said in the motion, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “And there is no plausible reason to insist the prohibitions be enforced immediately.”

We’ll have to see if this is as successful as the emergency injunction that WeChat got. If it is, it may be enough to send Trump running to Twitter to rant.

TikTok Cuts Deal With Walmart And Oracle…. Trump Green Lights The Deal

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2020 by itnerd

The latest plot twist in the TikTok vs Trump saga has TikTok announcing that the company has reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart that will keep the video sharing platform alive in the US. The deal has also been approved by President Donald Trump reports Bloomberg. The deal will effectively establish a new company called TikTok Global. Oracle and Walmart can together take up to a 20 percent stake in this company. TikTok Global will be headquartered in the United States and will bring 25,000 jobs to the country. And Oracle will be responsible for storing user data.

But before anyone stops traffic and holds a parade, this deal could still go off the rails as the Chinese government will likely still get some sort of say. Meaning that if they say no, then this situation is back to square one. There’s also the fact that Oracle is associated with Larry Ellison who is a Trump supporter and the current CEO of Oracle is also a Trump supporter. That has the smell of cronyism. Something that Trump said he was going to stop. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the coming days.