TikTok, Vine’s rebirth, threatening our national security??

Yes, you read the heading correctly, TikTok might be a threatening app.

For those of you who don’t know, TikTok is an app that consists of videos ranging fro 15-60 seconds of random funny, artistic, and aesthetic videos. TikTok can be compared to Vine, which was a similar app that ended in 2017. There were rumors that Vine ended due to content creators taking it too far and harming themselves during stunts they would do. Could TikTok be in a frenzy as well now?

TikTok - Wikipedia

TikTok is a Chinese-owned app that is super popular in the United States. Senators, Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton, requested for U.S. intelligence officials to investigate for any threats to American national security. In order to start their investigation, they turn to TikTok’s data practices to decide if the Chinese government has any evidence or control on what specific content U.S. citizens can see on TikTok.

Overtime there was concern over companies that had relations with China. In the article it states: “China hawks like Cotton and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) launched attacks against telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE regarding their allegiance to the Chinese government” (Kelly, M). There has been similarity of criticism with the issue mentioned, on TikTok. This can be an issue because TikTok is used active worldwide and over 120 million times in America.

Quote from the article: “These Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Community Party,” Rubio said at the time (Kelly, M). This quote is very interesting to me, I feel like the Chinese-app is mostly ran by American citizens. The U.S. is more open-minded and open for discussion which is interesting that these Chinese-owned apps are being used to censor.

TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2019) - Business of Apps

https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/24/20930518/tiktok-chuck-schumer-tom-cotton-bytedance-national-security-senators-dni

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Kids movie ‘Abominable’ removed from Vietnam

Image result for abominable map
The “nine-dash line” that caused Vietnam to remove Abominable from theaters

As we have recently seen, nothing is spared from Chinese international politics not even a cute animated movie. The Dreamworks animated film “Abominable” has recently been pulled from all Vietnam theaters for showing a chinese map that contains the “nine-dash line” The movie which follows a chinese girl who befriends a yeti has no intention of starting a political outrage but yet here we are. The nine-dash line in question is a hotly contested border created by the Chinese that includes a lot of territory that the governments of Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim they have. 

Since China has made the claim in 1940 and created the nine-dash line, they have defended the territory their extensively. They have created islands and added infrastructure on those island so people can live there. They also have their navy defend the waters from other governments.This comes during a very problematic time for China or more importantly human rights, with China erasing any content they deem insults the government. South Park released was completely erased from the Chinese internet after they insulted China’s censorship laws. China has a 8.87 billion dollar movie market and Hollywood and other companies want to get a piece of the market but are sacrificing their rights or at least bending to Chinese censorship. The inclusion of the nine-dash line in the movie was there to appease the Chinese government but failed to respect the other countries involved in this dispute. It is scary to see so many companies and corporations give up their rights to appease a foriegn government based solely on money but I do not think this is going to stop and moving forward I think China is going to start threatening more companies into this censorship. Hopefully more media companies like the creators of South Park take a stand against this kind of censorship because if movies like Abominable can not escape the limelight any movie or show is a target for censorship.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/world/asia/abominable-vietnam-china-map.html

Blizzard silences Pro-Hong Kong player.

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Image: https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/14/blizzard-gives-back-blitzchung-prize-money-reduces-ban-six-months-10912872/

Perhaps one of the fastest growing media markets in the global community is the Chinese market. Everyone from movie producers to videogame streamers have been attempting to grab a share of this market. However, in order to have access to this revenue stream these companies must comply with the authoritarian Chinese government and the most recent case of this is in connection to game publisher Blizzard. In a recent interview during their tournament for the popular online game Hearthstone, e-sports player Ng Wai Chung, better known in the community as Blitzchung, expressed his support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong that seek to resist the growing power the Chinese government has on the city. In response Blizzard banned Blitzchung from competitive play for up to one year and refused to deliver the prize money he would have received for competing in the tournament. Word quickly spread of Blizzards actions, sparking consumer outrage. Many Consumers began calling for a boycott of Blizzards products, and memes and image lampooning the company spread throughout the internet like Wildfire. In addition, several streamers of Blizzards twitch channel followed in Chung’s example, knowing that they would be removed in a similar manner to the e-sports player. I understand the outrage at Blizzard and fully support Chung and the streamers action.  By attempting to cater to China and its market Blizzard has irrevocably damaged both their reputation and their profit margins domestically. This only fitting, as it is dangerous and immoral for Blizzard or any company to allow itself to be compliant in the actions and wishes of a totalitarian regime in the name of monetary game.

Article: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/09/tech/blizzard-gaming-backlash-hong-kong-intl-hnk-scli/index.html