Accuracy in Media

NowThis News glanced over the reasons behind a recent ban on using a Chinese company’s video-sharing app. TikTok, the American version of a Chinese video-sharing social media app, focuses on sharing short videos of users lip-syncing or performing comedy acts. ByteDance, the company behind the app, is based in Beijing, China and the U.S. military banned its service members from using the app on government-issued phones.

Both the U.S. Army and Navy have implemented the bans, citing cybersecurity concerns thanks to the app’s ties to China.

NowThis mentioned a letter from Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) which urged the military to stop using TikTok until security threat assessments were conducted. But, NowThis neglected to point out TikTok’s alleged censoring of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and how the app’s developers declined to appear before a congressional subcommittee hearing on censorship and technology. Also, TikTok’s controversy highlighted privacy issues, such as whether TikTok stores American users’ data on foreign servers that could potentially violate American citizens’ right to privacy. Yet none of these concerns were addressed in NowThis News’s article on the controversy.

Instead, readers were subjected to a brief summary of the military’s TikTok ban, without providing more context of how TikTok’s Chinese ties could affect a normal American citizen’s life.

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