Accuracy in Media

TikTok, the popular social media video app, is making at least one major change after U.S. government officials began to scrutinize its ties to the Chinese government. The app announced it would no longer use China-based moderators to oversee its foreign-based content.

Only Fox News and the Wall Street Journal covered the news among the mainstream media outlets.

Fox News headlined the news, “TikTok to stop using China-based moderators to monitor content overseas” and it discussed how TikTok’s owning company, ByteDance, is trying to appease the U.S. government.

So far, U.S. government agencies ranging from the Department of Defense to the Department of Homeland Security have banned its employees from using TikTok’s app on government-issued phones due to concerns it could create security vulnerability issues and susceptibility to hacks.

Overall, the mainstream media has done a terrible job in warning American readers and viewers about the data privacy and security concerns with the TikTok app. There are questions whether its users’ data is stored in the users’ home country or in China, and whether the acquired data is subject to U.S. data privacy regulations. The mainstream media has not been able to answer many of the privacy and security questions related to TikTok’s storage or use of user data.

Fox News and the Wall Street Journal covered this latest policy update from TikTok and its owner, ByteDance, but the likes of CNN, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News failed to report on the news story. As Accuracy in Media pointed out, the majority of American users of the TikTok app are young and one report claimed 60 percent of the app’s audience is between the age of 16 and 24. It should be a larger privacy and security concern for American parents to protect their children from a potential source of data hacks, but it was mostly ignored by the mainstream media. The mainstream media needs to do a better job to report on TikTok-related news to keep parents informed about the company’s attempts to become more transparent about its data storage and use.

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