Talk of Banning TikTok Sparks Calls For A More Open Internet in China
Ongoing negotiations between Microsoft and Beijing-based software company ByteDance over the possible acquisition of the Chinese-owned video platform TikTok have highlighted security and privacy concerns among Chinese internet users, while sparking a rare public call to open up the Great Firewall.
TikTok could become totally independent from ByteDance, leaving it free to continue operating overseas amid growing security concerns, especially in the U.S., Hong Kong’s English-language South China Morning Post cited sources close to the negotiations as saying.
But ByteDance is reportedly reluctant to go along, the paper said.
U.S. President Donald Trump will take action “in the coming days” against TikTok, as it poses a national security risk, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Aug. 3, accusing the platform of “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Meanwhile, the Global Times, which has close ties to the official paper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the People’s Daily, hit out at the threat, saying it had turned the negotiation into a “fire sale.”
Some in China’s growing high-tech sector have called for TikTok to bring the case to the New York-based United States Court of International Trade on intellectual property grounds, it said.
TikTok, which is widely known in China as the international arm of video platform Douyin, would keep its name and branding under the spinoff plan, the South China Morning Post reported.
Regular users of Douyin and Alibaba’s online selling platform Taobao told RFA that those platforms are already a privacy and security risk for their users.
One user, who gave only her surname Yang, said she had recently received a number of notifications of products after she mentioned them in face-to-face conversations with friends, suggesting that the Taobao app was listening to her through her phone’s microphone.
It’s Douyin and also Taobao,” Yang said. “If I talk about something with my colleagues, it will really push related things at me.I think it may be an eavesdropping function.”
Jin Chun, a former big data engineer at Huawei’s Southern Research Institute, believes that Taobao and other apps are quite likely to be monitoring users’ data in such ways.
“Any app approved by the Chinese Communist Party can be instructed by it to engage in surveillance and spying activities to collect information of all kinds,” he said. “I have no doubt about that.”
Requests to ByteDance for comment were received but not responded to by the time of writing. Taobao didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The dispute briefly sparked calls for China to respond by loosening its complex system of blocks, filters and human censorship that make up its Great Firewall, and effectively seal off Chinese internet users in a bubble of content approved by their government. ‘Diplomatic warfare’
James Liang, founder of the online travel agency Ctrip, said in an article on Sina.com that the U.S. is using “diplomatic warfare” to persuade its allies to block Chinese technology companies, citing the barring of Huawei from 5G bidding processes in several countries.
“If we simply adopt a tit-for-tat strategy and implement the same xenophobic barriers, we will leave matters in the hands of the U.S.,” Liang wrote, in an article that was later deleted from the Chinese internet.
“Our countermeasures should be to open up further,” Liang wrote, according to a cached copy of the deleted article available on Tuesday. “The United States wants to block WeChat and TikTok, so we can do the opposite.”
Liang proposed opening up China’s internet to overseas players like Google, which left China amid a censorship row in 2020.
” we open up to Google and other international mainstream internet companies, and the United States blocks WeChat and Tiktok,” he wrote, adding that such a move would make life easier for Chinese researchers and innovators to communicate with their overseas counterparts.
“Our cultural and creative workers need to keep up with trends and fashions in global culture in order to create cultural products that global consumers like,” he wrote, flying in the face of general secretary Xi Jinping’s insistence that China block foreign cultural products and produce more content approved by the Communist Party.
Liang said opening up China’s internet would also attract more overseas talent to live and work in China, citing the inconvenience of censorship to expats and their families, while enabling overseas Chinese to promote Chinese products and companies on overseas platforms.
He said such a move would quickly undermine U.S. criticisms of China’s protectionism and lack of freedom and human rights protection, and strike a huge blow to the U.S.’ image internationally and win Beijing more allies.
Reported by Han Jie for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Wong Siu-san and Sing Man for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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How to identify Fake News or Messages on Social Media
Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media
Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.
But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.
Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.
Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.
Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.
Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.
Follow official websites relating to COVID-19
WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites
Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)
According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.
Follow WHO guidelines
When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.
Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations if stories are repeated there
Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.
Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.
These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.
Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.
Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.
You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.
Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred
Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.
The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?
But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing technologies that can lay digitally created script to anybody's voice even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.
For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us email@example.com or Whats App:+916289017966