Are you or your children using TikTok? If so, are you familiar with how it works?
For months, some adults have been desperately trying to jump on-board the app, and despite the “fun”, “entertaining” image the brand is selling, there’s a DANGEROUS FEATURE that doesn’t seem to get enough attention.
AI-Controlled Feed. Take that in. The company prides itself in having intelligent systems that analyze users’ preferences and ‘feed them accordingly’. Yes, users can choose to follow others to include them in their feed, but majority of the content viewed is ‘chosen’ by the app.
Being a Chinese app, running with approval from the Chinese government, this means that at any point, content can be carefully and strategically manipulated to influence public opinion and/or gather support for specific campaigns.
Because of the power of the internet, getting the masses to buy-in on intended actions became a requirement, and even dictators who used to do as they please, now need to convince people that they’re acting in their best interest, in order to avoid uprisings and public outrage/international condemnation.
If a Russian company develops an app with the approval and oversight of the Russian government, you’d hear concern echoing on social media.
However, this Chinese power of influence over the masses doesn’t seem to be a big deal and clearly not viewed as the threat it is. Yes, Huawei and 5G pose possible threats, but a bigger and existing threat is TikTok and its ability to track behavioral patterns and preferences, while having direct access to our kids’ eyes and minds.
Some might argue that similar to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, algorithms operate most of their functions and determine what to populate on our main feeds. That’s right, in other examples, that feed is based on people you personally befriend and/or follow, along with pages and brands you chose. The sources of your feed are usually chosen by you and algorithms only work after you make your selections. With TikTok, it doesn’t matter whether you do follow others or not, the sources for your feed are chosen by the app and continuously change by the app, based on what the app believes you should be watching (presented as you most likely would want to watch aka based on your preferences).
TheWesternVoice will follow up on this topic after doing more research. However, we already know that we are in a position of weakness when our youth are becoming addicted to apps accessible to other governments.
“China’s government, based on data they collect, most likely knows our youth better than our government does. While they’re investing in getting to younger generations, Trudeau’s government is investing in training politicians to get a seat at the corrupt UN security counsel”
We need to invest in our own local apps, games, platforms, websites & tools. The current government has different priorities and we can not wait 4 more years. #TrudeauMustGo either way, but if we empower each other now, change can happen within the society before the government changes and whether we separate or not, let’s make Alberta a powerful player in the cyber game and take advantage of the many great talents residing within our borders.