United States TikTok ban Kris Ruby

TikTok Ban

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TikTok National Security Threat Privacy Data Breach Kristen Ruby

TIK TOK BAN: Navigating a Digital Minefield of Espionage: TikTok, National Security, and Free Speech

“Social media started to usurp the power of traditional media. Checks and balances had to be placed on that lever of power and control.” – Kris Ruby

TikTok has emerged at the forefront of a significant conversation — one that intertwines the threads of national security, free speech, and the role of social media in modern public discourse. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at potentially banning TikTok, should its China-based ownership not divest its stake. The essence of this debate penetrates down to the very core of how society interacts with digital platforms, raising poignant questions about data privacy, foreign influence, and the increasingly powerful role of tech companies in shaping our world views. Fundamentally, the TikTok ban is about a power struggle and control of the Internet. TikTok has become a critical social media platform in the Israel vs. Hamas conflict, and politicians want to control those levers of control.

The Trump Administration spearheaded the battle with Chinese company ByteDance and its social media platform, TikTok long before anyone else did. TikTok has been on the Congressional national intelligence radar since October 2019.

In a recent interview on power and politics, Kris Ruby, a renowned social media marketing expert, highlighted several key talking points regarding the growing concerns surrounding TikTok and the implications for national security and data privacy.

Ruby emphasized the importance of the US House of Representatives passing a bill targeting TikTok, which aims to ban the app if its China-based owner does not sell its stake in the platform. This move reflects the escalating worries about the power and control of big tech companies, particularly in the realm of social media, and the necessity for checks and balances to safeguard public discourse.

The debate on striking a balance between national security issues and free speech has intensified, with a focus on the potential risks associated with compromised platforms like TikTok collecting data for espionage and surveillance purposes. Ruby underscored the significance of AI in social media platforms like TikTok, noting how algorithms are utilized to create engaging and addictive user experiences.

However, this aspect has raised concerns about data collection considering TikTok’s popularity among millions of American users, particularly the younger demographic.

Critiques of the proposed TikTok ban have focused on government overreach and restrictions on free speech. This stance contrasts with the national security considerations raised by Kris Ruby and the perceived threat of foreign influence that underpin the push for the app’s potential ban.

Ruby’s insights shed light on the complex interplay between national security imperatives and the protection of democratic values in the age of rapidly evolving technology.

Social Media Expert Kris Ruby underscored the multifaceted nature of the geopolitical TikTok debate and the broader implications it holds for data privacy, free speech, and national security.

Opponents of the ban say the app promotes free speech. However, White Plains-based social media expert Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, says the amount of data social media apps collect on users is alarming, especially in an election year.

US House Passes Bill Targeting TikTok Over National Security Concerns

TikTok, the popular video-sharing social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is facing a potential nationwide ban in the United States unless it is sold to a non-Chinese entity within the next year.

American policymakers and legislators call for a ban on TikTok in response to perceived fears about surveillance, data collection, manipulation and espionage by the Chinese government.

WATCH: Social Media Expert Kris Ruby Warns of Growing Concerns Over TikTok’s National Security Risks and Data Privacy Issues

TIKTON BAN: Ruby Media Group CEO Kristen Ruby joined News 12 Westchester Power and Politics hosted by Jonathan Gordon to discuss the latest breaking news on TikTok.

Joining the show is social media expert and CEO of Ruby Media Group, Kris Ruby, an award-winning social media agency.

Here are the key points regarding the potential TikTok ban in the US:

President Joe Biden recently signed a law that gives ByteDance 9 months to divest its ownership of TikTok, with an additional 3-month extension if a sale is in progress. This law was part of a broader $95 billion foreign aid package.

If ByteDance fails to sell TikTok within the given timeframe, the law would make it illegal for web hosting services to support the app, effectively forcing Apple and Google to remove it from their app stores and rendering it unusable in the US.

The primary concern from US lawmakers is the potential for the Chinese government to access data on TikTok’s 170 million American users or influence the content they see, posing national security risks. TikTok has denied sharing US user data with China.

Selling TikTok may be complicated as any buyer would need approval from the Chinese government, which has export controls over TikTok’s personalized recommendation algorithm considered a national asset.

While the law sets a deadline, TikTok’s legal challenge could delay or prevent an outright ban through court battles that could take years to resolve. Some experts argue the law may violate precedents protecting Americans’ access to foreign media.

The recently signed law threatens to ban TikTok nationwide in the US within a year unless its Chinese parent company divests ownership, escalating tensions over data security and foreign influence concerns.

In response, TikTik is now suing the United States  government.

TikTok and ByteDance have filed a lawsuit challenging the law, arguing it infringes on the First Amendment rights of American users by restricting their freedom of expression and association. They claim the ban would eliminate a significant platform for exchanging ideas.

“ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, struck the latest blow in a high-stakes clash between the social media company and the U.S. government, filing a lawsuit challenging a forced sale of TikTok as unconstitutional.”

TikTok sues to block potential ban. READ the lawsuit here

What is the reason behind the potential TikTok ban in The United States?

The primary reason behind the potential TikTok ban in the United States is the concern over national security risks posed by the app’s Chinese ownership. The potential TikTok ban stems from bipartisan fears that the app’s Chinese parent company could be coerced into using its access and control over TikTok as a tool for Beijing’s intelligence gathering or influence operations targeting Americans.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is subject to Chinese laws that could compel it to share user data or manipulate content at the behest of the Chinese government. U.S. lawmakers fear that Beijing could access the data of TikTok’s 170 million American users or influence the content they see, using the app for surveillance, propaganda, or to meddle in U.S. politics and upcoming elections.

The ban aims to sever TikTok’s ties to China and address concerns that the Chinese government could weaponize the app’s data collection, algorithms, and content curation capabilities against U.S. interests.

Critics argue the ban violates free speech and could set a precedent of the U.S. government restricting access to foreign media and platforms, while supporters view TikTok as an unacceptable national security risk given its Chinese ownership.

Why is TikTok being banned in America?

Tell us how we got here in the first place.

TikTok is a video-sharing app similar to Snapchat and Instagram, except one thing is very different- ties to the CCP. Privacy concerns remain about how much data TikTok collects from user devices. While both TikTok and WeChat collect extensive data on their users, the core American concern is that the Chinese government will be able to access this data and potentially leverage it for espionage or blackmail. U.S. officials also worry the apps censor political speech and could be used to spread propaganda.

Social Media Analyst and Ruby Media Group CEO joined Power and Politics for a special segment on TikTok and what you need to know.

Big Tech’s Control Over Public Discourse

The concentration of power among big tech companies and their control over public discourse has led to increasing resistance spearheaded by figures like Elon Musk. Beyond the surface, this isn’t just a squabble over national security and data privacy – it’s a battle for control over the digital realm. Big tech giants like TikTok have been reigning supreme in search, potentially displacing Google’s dominance, dictating what we see, hear, and find online.

TikTok National Security Concerns

Is TikTok safe to use, a legitimate threat, or somewhere in the middle?

The potential national security risks associated with using TikTok. Ruby emphasizes why military members are prohibited from using the app on their devices. It separates the issue of free speech from national security concerns.

The potential threat of China using consumer data from platforms like TikTok for espionage and surveillance is a serious concern, and there is a growing lack of trust in the U.S. government to protect against this threat.

As the debate rages on, one thing is clear: we’re at a crossroads where national security clashes with free speech, and the fallout could reshape the digital landscape as we know it. The battle lines have been drawn, the players are in position – but who will emerge victorious in this high-stakes landscape?

The Role of AI in Shaping User Experience on TikTok

Addictive Nature of TikTok Raises Questions About Data Privacy and Political Implications

AI algorithms underpin TikTok’s success, curating highly addictive content that keeps users engaged for hours. These algorithms, while spotlighting the platform’s innovative use of technology, also bring to light concerns over unprecedented CCP data collection and the potential manipulation of data which can be used against US politicians in the future as a form of blackmail. Particularly worrisome is how such technology might be exploited to push certain narratives or influence political and socio-economic agendas.

Picture this: AI-powered algorithms working behind the scenes to keep you hooked on scrolling through endless TikTok videos. It’s like a digital web that entangles us in its grasp, all while using our personal data for influence operations and espionage. Pretty creepy, right? The dark side of AI is no longer the stuff of science fiction – it’s here, it’s real, and it’s shaping our online experiences in ways we can barely comprehend.

The Power of TikTok’s AI to Shape Perceptions

Concerns Over AI Algorithms’ Role in Data Collection on Platforms Like TikTok

The significance of TikTok’s advanced AI and recommendation algorithms. TikTok AI recommendation algorithms have been pivotal in shaping user experiences and engagement, notably ahead of its competitors. This has created addictive AI, leaving users in a state of withdrawal without access to the app if it is banned.

Why TikTok is so addictive

Isn’t there always a concern about all social media companies and how they use and sell our data?

How is this data that is being collected about you being used to train a mini model? That mini model can be a personalized algorithm based on your preferences, your likes, your dislikes, and what you’re interested in. That can become very addictive. You are seeing a nation going through withdrawal. The response to this app being banned is not normal and the reason why is because it is so addictive. Why is it so addictive? Because of artificial intelligence.

Kris, you mentioned AI a lot in our interview. How does this play into the future of social media and the combination of AI and algorithms?

TikTok has one of the most powerful AI recommendation algorithms long before almost anyone else did. That is why people love the app and feel addicted to it, because it is building a mirror experience of their world and what they want to see.

When you’re on other social media platforms, when that technology is not the foundation of what you’re using, you can tell because you’ll say, why am I getting this? I’m not interested in this. Why am I being targeted for something I could care less about? This is not something that I’d like to see. They’re all powered by AI algorithms and matching algorithms. Every social media company is competing to create the most powerful AI.

AI plays a pivotal role in platforms such as TikTok, as algorithms are crafted to engage users in irresistible ways, giving rise to apprehensions regarding data usage and espionage. The platform’s captivating nature, driven by AI, has entranced millions of American users, especially youth, sparking inquiries into the app’s Chinese links and potential political repercussions.

The intel battle to control the newsfeed of our youth

TikTok has 170 million American users, including many teens. Could this become a political issue that young people really care about in the election? 

Our youth sees TikTok as their app. The fact that our youth is so attached to an app tied to China is a problem. We have a nation in peril where they are fighting for their right to be surveilled by China. Something has gone horribly wrong in this AI-driven social experiment where our own citizens are now fighting for our nation’s enemies and that is a direct result of the CCP driven propaganda campaign on TikTok.

The Intersection of National Security and Social Media

The first issue is national security, because if the underlying foundation is compromised, you are speaking on a compromised platform that is collecting your data from someone that is a direct threat to the United States of America. There is a reason why members of our military cannot use TikTok or have TikTok on their mobile devices. People are conflating a free speech issue with a national security issue and national security has to come first.

The national security concerns regarding TikTok in the U.S. are complex and multifaceted. At the heart of the concern is the app’s connection to China, through its parent company, ByteDance, and the apprehension regarding the potential for data to be used for foreign espionage and surveillance. This is not a standalone scenario; rather, it underscores a broader dilemma about the growing control of big tech companies over public discourse and the imperative for adequate checks and balances.

The intricacies of the intersection seek to safeguard national security without encroaching upon the digital landscape’s concept of a free and open Internet. This premise is flawed considering the Internet is not free or open considering the current Digital Service Act restrictions and other legal guidelines. Other opponents argue the legislation is a broad overreach with the goal of going after X next; this is also false.

Balancing Act: National Security vs. Free Speech

What speech do you have if China takes over and collects your data and uses that for espionage or to surveil American citizens? China can ultimately use it to blackmail future politicians. This is the real threat of TikTok.

The discussion on TikTok invariably touches upon the delicate balancing act between ensuring national security and safeguarding the principles of free speech. While the need to protect national interests is undisputed, some critics argue the method of achieving this — in the form of a ban — raises critical concerns regarding government overreach and the possible setting of a precedent for the censorship of digital platforms. This dichotomy presents a challenging scenario: how to protect the nation’s digital borders without stifling the exchange of ideas that forms the backbone of a democratic society. The fact of the matter is that China is not a democratic society while the U.S. is- these two ideas are directly in opposition.

Debating Free Speech and National Security

Debate Intensifies Between National Security and Free Speech on Social Media

Common misunderstandings regarding legislative language aimed at protecting national security. Ruby addresses concern that it might suppress free speech versus the necessity of such measures against foreign influence.

Critiques of the TikTok Ban: Overreach and Implications for Free Speech

Is the TikTok ban a violation of The First Amendment?

It’s not unconstitutional if the administration can make the case that it’s a security threat.

Opponents of the TikTok ban articulate their concerns from a perspective of potential government overreach and the consequential restrictions on free speech. They argue that such a ban not only impinges upon the rights of millions to freely express and consume information but also risks entrenching a narrative where security concerns are weaponized to justify extensive censorship and control over digital spaces, thereby stifling innovation and the global exchange of ideas.

The Path Forward in Regulating Social Media 

The conundrum posed by TikTok, national security, and free speech is emblematic of broader challenges as society navigates the intersection of emerging AI technology in the digital age. The path forward involves crafting nuanced policies that address security concerns while preserving the fundamental values of free expression and innovation. Perhaps more importantly, it calls for a collaborative approach between governments, tech companies, and civil society to foster a digital ecosystem that upholds democratic values at its core, ensuring that the power of technology serves to enhance, rather than diminish, our collective freedoms.

The Future of Monetization for Tiktok Creators

TikTok is home to thousands of social media influencers, many of whom have built entire successful businesses on the app. TikTokers have recently urged their followers to find them on other social media sites in case the platform is banned. Larger questions remain on creator monetization and how creators will replace the lost income, leaving a market opportunity for a competitor to capture.  Many TikTok creators say they say they don’t want to leave the app unless they are forced to. TikTok influencers make their living on the app and will have to find another platform to replace lost revenue, most likely Instagram Reels or X. 

Mastering TikTok

The issue with mastering a specific social media platform is that you may be mastering a platform that quickly becomes outdated and irrelevant. The skills you acquire can become obsolete if the platform is banned. Don’t worry- you can still put the skills to good use on another social media platform. A robust social media marketing strategy is always the best choice to make sure resources are properly allocated and evenly spread among several social media channels instead of over investing in only one. You do not want to invest all of your marketing resources in a strategy with diminished reach due to a TikTok ban. Some things are out of your control; a TikTok an is one of them. The best way to build a healthy immune system to combat these legislative ups and downs is to build a content foundation on your own site instead of a third party platform. 

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Do you find it challenging to stay relevant on social media? Maintaining a consistent presence on TikTok is difficult, given its ever-changing trends and pending legislative ban. Ruby Media Group can help you navigate the legal minefield and develop a social media strategy immune to algorithm or platform changes. 

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READ: TikTok Famous: Social Media Stardom or National Security Threat? 

 

ABOUT

Kris Ruby is a seasoned expert in the field of social media and provides critical insights and analysis on the current debate regarding the potential risks posed by platforms like TikTok, particularly in relation to data collection and privacy concerns.