Will Tik Tok be the death of us?

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Will Tik Tok be the death of us?

On Friday, December 17, 2021, schools and entire school systems were shut down due to a TikTok challenge. According to The Republic Brief

Schools across the US will close on Friday in case a school shooting TikTok challenge turns out to be real.

Schools and entire districts in California, Missouri, Texas and Minnesota have cancelled classes for the day, while others who will remain open have announced that they will add extra police officers on campus and will remain on high alert.

However, officials and police have assured parents and students that they have found scant evidence of any credible threats.

Was the school reaction overblown concern? Not necessarily. People have done some pretty outrageous things to fulfill TikTok challenges. Here are just a few examples, courtesy of The New York Post.

Skull Breaker Challenge

This viral craze — reportedly originating in Venezuela as “rompcráneos,” or “skull breaker” — depicts three friends (we use the term loosely) jumping next to each other as the bookending buds kick the middle guy’s feet out from under him. The action sends the person crashing to the ground, landing on their back and hitting their head in the process.

Not only has the alarming trend led to injuries in MiamiNew Jersey and Arizona, but Daytona Beach, Florida police have charged two high school teens with misdemeanor battery and cyberbullying following an incident there. In addition, two students in Mexico did their own version of the “skull breaker,” but reportedly used a sweater instead of their feet to trip a girl into doing a face-plant.

Doctors have unsurprisingly condemned the practice for its potential to cause “serious and life-threatening injuries,” ranging from “skull fracture to paralysis and death.”

Benadryl Challenge

This inflammatory challenge, which involves taking enough Benadryl to hallucinate and posting the footage on the video-sharing platform, resulted in the death of a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl last year.

This, along with several other near-fatal incidents, prompted pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and the FDA to issue PSAs warning teens not to abuse the antihistamines.

The latter warned, “Taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma or even death.”

Cha-Cha Slide Challenge

This ridiculous TikTok trend involved teen drivers swerving all over the road like maniacs in time with the stunt’s namesake dance anthem, first released 20 years ago by DJ Casper, a k a Mr. C The Slide Man.

Despite the obvious risks, the trend has taken TikTok by storm, reportedly causing several near-accidents by participants. “The car almost flipped,” reads the caption to a video of one TikTokker performing the stunt with friends.

TikTok warns viewers on several clips that “the action in this video could result in serious injury.”

Other challenges include peeing on yourself, smearing excrement on your children (yes, seriously), choking yourself until you pass out, posing naked in silhouette, stealing diverse items and how well you can verbally abuse your children. And if all of that sounds truly bizarre to you, there were other bizarre examples I could have named. I just did not have the stomach to do so.

In addition to being a breeding ground for nutty behavior, TikTok is also a national security concern. Like every other social media platform, they are collecting data on all of their users. What makes Tik Tok so bad? All of their data is in the hands of China. Check out this quote from ForeignPolicy.com.

Last month, media reported that TikTok’s U.S. privacy policy was updated to say the company “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under U.S. laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints.” TikTok’s new policy also states it may “share all of the information we collect with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group.”

This poses enormous challenges for U.S. policymakers—ones that go to the heart of data collection in a globalized world. TikTok’s parent company is Beijing-headquartered—ByteDance—one of China’s technology giants that specializes in artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled social media platforms.

It is standard practice for global companies to acknowledge, via their privacy policies, that user data may be transferred, and when transferred, governed by foreign laws outside of their own jurisdiction. Chinese companies are not exceptional in this way. But what is exceptional is the way the Chinese Communist Party-state has used such laws—and other tools—to give it ultimate influence over digital technologies and the flow of data.

ByteDance’s own privacy policy says it will share data without the subject’s prior consent if “the data relates to national security, national defense, public security, or public health” or to “meet the requirements of relevant laws, regulations, procedures, and judicial proceedings.” The very definition of activities that allegedly harm national security is arbitrary at best in China. It effectively boils down to what the state wants, the state gets.

A platform with millions of users willing to do strange and often dangerous things at the control of China. Does anyone else see the danger in this? If not, let me point out, what I think, is an obvious consideration.

Tik Tok looks through its user data and sees Timmy whose Mom works in the White House as a Press Secretary. Tik Tok issues out a challenge specific to Timmy (and other users connected to people who work at The White House).

Tik Tok Challenge: Take a Selfie of Your Parent’s Desk Day – Come on kids, go into your Mom’s office and take a picture posing with the papers on their desk. It will be fun. Extra points if you see anything that looks official or marked confidential.

And why restrict this type of challenge to people in the political field? Why not extend it to executives in business, sports personalities, entertainment influencers? This challenge, and others like it, could be the foundation for a spy network made up of useful idiots.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched for some of you? Let’s bring it down to a more palatable level. What else could a foreign power do with the control of an easily manipulated population? Umm… Swaying elections comes to mind. Why not make it a Tik Tok Challenge to vote a certain way? Check out this quote from Just The News and ponder if that is an impossibility.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he will oppose his party’s legislation to federalize how elections are conducted, dealing a severe blow to Democratic passage in the evenly divided Senate.

The For The People Act would among other things ban voter ID requirements, mandate mail-in voting options and begin registering voters at age 16. It has faced uniform Republican opposition.

It would not be the first time a social media company used its power to sway elections. But how many of those social media platforms have a psychological hold like Tik Tok?

Some people saw this threat and tried to nullify it but their actions were overturned. Why? Speculation is that it was done to appease China. I’m inclined to agree. Check out this December 14, 2021 quote from Vision Times.

In June this year, U.S. President, Joe Biden, signed an executive order revoking former President Donald Trump’s order that sought to ban TikTok. Trump’s order was based on the consideration that TikTok posed a threat to America’s national security. It was found that ByteDance, the company which owns TikTok, might be transferring user data to China.

In a lawsuit back in Aug. 2020, TikTiok insisted that the app has “not and has never been offered in China.” TikTok has publicly distanced itself from any China ties. ByteDance eventually reorganized its business units in a manner that made a clear distinction between TikTok and its Chinese offerings. However, in a report published by Business Insider on Dec. 10, a group of former and current employees at TikTok reveal that they still take orders from ByteDance headquartered in China.


China (specifically, the Chinese Communist Party) is not our friend.  


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