• Dan Rattiner

TikTok: Fun App May Be Sending Info About You to China

People around the world can post wonderful, hilarious or fascinating 15-second videos.

First seen on Dan's Papers - January 17, 2020

Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas

Various branches of the U.S. military have ordered members to delete the TikTok app from their government-issued smartphones. Having it could result in the Chinese sucking all the information about you into their clutches. TikTok was born and raised in China, and now it’s a problem.

Don’t know about TikTok? It’s an app where anybody from around the world can post wonderful 15-second videos that are hilarious or fascinating. It brings together everybody with humor and is a particularly great thing for those of us, such as myself, who are Type A personalities, can’t stand waiting on line, are not above sometimes sneaking to the front to get what has to be got.

Poking TikTok to life on your phone defuses that situation. Blood pressure returns to normal. Everything calms down. Maybe I could wait on line a little longer?

Here now, just to break away from writing for a moment, are the four latest things on TikTok that are there at this moment. You watch one, it will loop to play itself again if you didn’t get it the first time, or you can scroll down any time to see the next item, which starts instantly upon filling your screen.

A teenage girl on a beach with a boogie board runs down to the water where there is a little tiny wave, throws down the board, hops on, makes a tiny circling move in the foam and then wipes out with a big splash in six inches of water.

A construction worker in an orange vest and yellow helmet at a skyscraper site is on lunch break with fellow workers, steps forward onto the dirt and does the best moonwalk you ever saw. And yes, there’s music.

A team of four horses, side-by-side and facing the camera in a snowstorm, pull with all their strength and succeed in getting a big semi-trailer truck stuck in the snow back onto the road.

A drone above a reservoir surveys the scene, which includes two men far away and standing below on the shore, but then it comes slowly down into the water, and while it’s floating there, still filming, it shows a man far off who jumps into the water and swims quickly toward it to retrieve it. Last image is his reaching up with a dripping wet hand to switch it off.

Okay, here’s a fifth. I can’t stop.

The next video is a videographer following an American soldier coming home to his family. He comes through the door and everybody screams with happiness, runs over and embraces him.

Alright, alright. That’s it for now. There. It’s off.

Okay, the advisory is only for the military, but this is like they want to take away my hot fudge sundae. Can’t we do anything fun anymore?

I suppose it makes sense for the military. If there’s a battle somewhere and the U.S. troops with their government-issued phones are all standing around watching TikTok, of course they are going to lose.

You know what I think is next? Waze. That’s the super-duper alternative to Google Maps that tells you the best way with the least traffic to get from point A to point B. I think they must call it Waze because it’s way better. Guy in a car stops suddenly—maybe a cup of coffee is about to spill—and because of that brief second, it shows up as a slowdown on Waze. It’s not made in China, but they have access to it and it’s definitely something the American military ought not to be using. And maybe the rest of us.

The issue with TikTok cannot be allowed to stand. By the way, TikTok U.S. general manager claimed, The New York Times reported, that all the data collected by TikTok is saved in the U.S. and only backed up in Singapore, which we all know, is not in China. Yet.

Personally, I am not ready to delete TikTok. The Chinese can learn everything they want about me. It will do them no good. So I don’t care.

But for you others, I suggest that all the Wall Street private equity firms get together and buy TikTok and bring it to American soil, where we can watch them and not the other way around.

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