After countless hours of swallowing it, is TikTok dangerous for children? The answer to this question in military intelligence is simple: yes.
Obviously, there is an important set of personal data. We also fear the impact of TikTok on the mental health of the youngest internet users. Some even think Beijing counts it out.
The most eloquent evidence of this tactic, according to experts, is the duplicity that exists between TikTok and Douyin, the two Siamese social networks owned by the same Chinese company, ByteDance. The first is available anywhere in the world except China. The latter is not offered anywhere other than in China.
Studies published over a year ago tend to show that the way TikTok works negatively affects the ability to focus young users. Influencing the brain of an all-you-can-eat buffet with very short videos in which you scroll by swiping your finger across the screen produces behavior equivalent to a dog suddenly seeing a squirrel: the user becomes very easily distracted. In young people, this can permanently affect their ability to learn.
On the contrary, Douyin promotes more content that encourages a better general culture and improved knowledge. In an interview with the US media, Nicholas Chaillan, former director of the US Army Computer Department, summed it up simply: Douyin knows, TikTok is stupid.
“Their algorithms are completely different. In China, they promote scientific, historical and educational content, while showing silly dance videos that make our citizens dumber,” the former US military man said last week. in New York Post.
“Made in China 2025”
With closed microphones, Canadian national security experts do not rule out this idea circulating in the United States that more than anything resembles a conspiracy theory. China is said to have included in its “Made in China 2025” plan this tactic to undermine the Western education system at its base by undermining its current and future students.
The “Made in China 2025” plan formally resembles any other country’s long-term economic development strategy. It includes a set of measures that Beijing has put in place since 2015 to make China the main economic and political power in the world as of 2025. There are concrete initiatives, such as increasing investment in scientific and technical research and development in China and strengthening skills related to science and mathematics.
In return for China’s skills boost, its main critics believe that this plan would also include measures that attack skills development in rival countries. TikTok will be one of those actions.
Naturally, TikTok spokespeople completely deny this. They remember that their social network was only designed as a fun app focused on entertainment.
However, Grid is not as white as snow.
ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, admitted last December to spying on at least three US media journalists. Forbes from their mobile phone’s internet address. Its Chinese employees will also have unregulated access to personal information about the social network’s users.
In Washington, Brussels and Ottawa, data collection by the TikTok app is considered excessive. Even if the app is not active, it collects data on the location and online activities of its users.
Once installed on a wireless device, the application will request access to its address book. It sometimes retrieves clipboard contents and can list other apps on the device. It can also track the owner of the phone on the web to see what sites they visit regularly.
However, TikTok is not different from Facebook and Instagram. Except that the concern is elsewhere: TikTok belongs to a company based in China, where the government gives itself the right to collect all of its users’ information collected by the app without notice.
Announced Monday in Ottawa and a few hours later in Quebec, the ban on federal and provincial civil servants installing TikTok on the wireless network they use at work was introduced as a precaution. It is especially feared that this data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
Once again, TikTok spokespeople are reassuring. They maintain that no information from its use has been shared in North America and will not be shared with the Chinese government under any circumstances.
But the personal data the network collects is numerous. And the most effective way to avoid falling victim to a possible leak of this data is the same one suggested to avoid the harmful effects of TikTok on the mental health of the youngest internet users: uninstall the app.
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