What Makes It Tik? #82

Deepnews Digest #82

What Makes It Tik?

Editor: Christopher Brennan

Moves by the U.S. administration against TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, have launched the clock “ticking” towards a potential sale of the video hub’s American operations as well as questions about where its future HQ will be. Our Digest this week pulled in all angles on the app, how it got to this point, and what happens now. The Deepnews.ai algorithm isn’t skilled at recommending videos of what dances or songs you might like, but with a complex subject like this it is useful for pulling in in-depth pieces from around the world on topics as wide as international affairs, business, tech and entertainment.
Editor’s note
At Deepnews.ai we like the way our algorithm works better than those on social media focused on generating engagement, but we also think that our technology can be used to make social media a better place. We share many of the pieces our model highlights so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Published every Friday

Rolling Stone

Inside TikTok’s Hidden Hit Machine

This spring, Curtis Waters was bored out of his mind in quarantine in North Carolina. So he did what millions of other teens and young adults in America were doing: He went on TikTok. The 20-year-old indie-pop singer and his brother made a goofy dance video to Waters’ vibey tune “Stunnin’ ” using a green screen in their basement, unsure if it would go anywhere. “It was either I start making TikToks or buy Animal Crossing,” Waters recalls.

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Wall Street Journal ($)

TikTok’s Founder Wonders What Hit Him

Zhang Yiming, who always wanted to build a global tech company, has found his creation caught in the U.S.-China standoff

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The polarizing, promising future of vertical movies

Every seismic shift in culture initially faces resistance. Remember that Singin’ in the Rain scene where a group of partygoers scoffs at the idea of talking pictures, as the viewers knowingly laugh? The motion picture had to make its case as an art form, and the talking picture faced similar barriers as a reasonable follow-up to silent films. (In City Lights, Charlie Chaplin mocked the advent of sound, using squawking noises as the soundtrack to a political speech — “What’s the difference?” he was asking.)

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Editor’s Note:

The rise of TikTok of course not only has implications for the tech world, but the entertainment world. Here our model highlighted B.C. Wallin as he considers “Vertical Cinema” in comparison to the ByteDance app. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Conversation

TikTok is a unique blend of social media platforms – here’s why kids love it

TikTok, a social media platform targeted at young mobile phone users, was the second-most downloaded app in the world in 2019. It was the most downloaded app in July 2020.

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Circle ID

The TikTok Ban in Context

The TikTok affair is unimportant when compared to Trump’s general tariffs and high-cost trade war against Huawei. What is our long-run goal with respect to China?

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Walmart Says Teaming With Microsoft In Bid For TikTok

US retail giant Walmart said Thursday it had teamed with Microsoft in a bid to buy Chinese-owned short-form video app TikTok.

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TikTok’s U.S. chief says video site will stay despite Trump ban

Music video app vows to keep business going and pay employees.

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Modern Retail ($)

What a Walmart-Microsoft bid for TikTok could mean for e-commerce

Over the past few weeks, Microsoft has been rumored to be among the top contenders interested in acquiring TikTok. TikTok started entertaining acquisition offers after President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively ordering TikTok to sell its U.S. operations within 45 days, or cease operating in the country. But in a surprise move on Thursday, another company announced it was partnering with Microsoft to submit a joint bid for TikTok: Walmart.

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Editor’s Note:

One of the possibilities to emerge in the last couple days has been retail goliath Walmart getting in on the TikTok action. Here the algorithm plucked up a piece from Anna Hensel as she digged into issues of e-commerce and ad targeting that are in play. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

New York Times

How TikTok’s talks with Microsoft turned into a soap opera

Neither side wanted a big deal. But what began as talks about a small investment ballooned with interventions from President Trump.

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Foreign Policy ($)

Big Tech Embraces New Cold War Nationalism

China’s rise has pushed Silicon Valley away from the values it once claimed to hold.

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Exclusive: ByteDance asks TikTok to draw up U.S. shutdown contingencies: sources

China’s ByteDance told engineers of its popular short-video app TikTok this week to make contingencies should it need to shut down its U.S. operations, even as it works toward divesting them, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

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Deutsche Welle

TikTok, WeChat & Co: How does spyware get into smartphones?

The accusations against the Chinese app TikTok and countless other apps from China are very serious: The programs are alleged to siphon off a wealth of information about their users — data that has nothing to do with the actual function of the app and for whose collection there is no reasonable justification.

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Editor’s Note:

Part of the push for a US buyer for TikTok of course comes after concerns over the use of data. Here our model highlighted work by Fabian Schmidt discussing back doors and more. – Christopher Brennan, Editor


There’s no frontrunner to be found among the TikTok alternatives

The U.S. market has no real frontrunner poised to claim TikTok’s throne if the app is banned in the country. According to Trump’s executive order, TikTok’s owner ByteDance has to divest of TikTok’s U.S. operations or the app will be banned from the U.S. market on November 12. A number of companies have considered the TikTok deal, including front-runner Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and even Oracle, for some reason. But if a deal doesn’t get done, it’s unclear what app — if any — will be able to take TikTok’s place.

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Spotlight: Economists, business leaders raise questions, voice concerns over U.S. actions against TikTok

U.S. economists and business leaders have raised questions and voiced concerns over the Trump administration’s actions against TikTok, highlighting a lack of evidence for its national security threat allegations and warning of undesirable consequences.

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Wall Street Journal ($)

General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital Are Key Drivers in Oracle Bid for TikTok

Investment firms with large existing stakes in ByteDance pursue deal for app’s U.S. operations, as potential alternative to Microsoft

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Why are teens pretending to be Holocaust victims on TikTok?

TikTok has become a central part of my social media diet while spending more time inside during the pandemic. Among the mix of very funny people and powerful political statements, a number of trends have popped up on the app. I recently became aware of a fun new trend among younger TikTokers: #POV or point-of-view videos, which are basically little scenes of TikTokers dressing up as different characters.

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Clearance Jobs

TikTok Lawsuit: Tort of Inclusion Upon Seclusion Spells Change in the Privacy Realm

As anyone who watches recent news would know, TikTok, the Chinese-based entertainment app, has been under heavy scrutiny from the U.S Government and the cybersecurity private sector. The mobile device app has been criticized and scrutinized for collecting data of users and storing it in servers in and accessible to China. This data can range from personal information to movement tracking to even biometrics.

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Editor’s Note:

While its tangling with the White House has gotten the most attention, TikTok is also facing pressure from lawsuits. Here our algorithm pulled in a piece where Joe Jabara of Wichita State University discusses “a multitude of class actions.” – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Mel Magazine

Comedy TikTokers With Disabilities Want You to Know That It’s Okay to Laugh

TikTok admitted last year to suppressing disabled content creators’ visibility, to preempt cyberbullying. But these creators’ growing followings show they’re doing just fine on their own.

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Fox Business

Microsoft’s three-decade history with China under the microscope ahead of potential TikTok acquisition

Microsoft’s relationship with China has come under scrutiny amid ongoing discussions for the tech conglomerate’s potential acquisition of the dance video app TikTok.

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The Telegraph (UK) ($)

Exclusive: Government row over TikTok’s London HQ move

Ministers are divided over whether to welcome any move by the multi-billion-pound video-sharing app to establish its HQ in the UK

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