Trump days away from moving against TikTok: Pompeo
This combination of pictures created on August 01, 2020 shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok displayed on a tablet screen in Paris, and US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 30, 2020. ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of wildly popular TikTok, has offered to sell the app's US operations as a way to avert a ban by the government of President Donald Trump, The New York Times reported August 1, 2020. After weeks of rumors and pressure, Trump said Friday he was preparing to bar the app from operating in the United States, perhaps by executive order on Saturday.
AFP/JIM WATSON, Lionel BONAVENTURE
Trump days away from moving against TikTok: Pompeo
(Agence France-Presse) - August 3, 2020 - 7:58am

WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump is days away from announcing strong action against the popular Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok to protect US national security, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

He said TikTok and other Chinese software companies operating in the US, such as WeChat, feed personal data on American citizens directly to the Chinese Communist Party. 

For years the US has put up with this because Americans felt "we're having fun with it," Pompeo said.

"President Trump has said, 'Enough,' and we’re going to fix it," Pompeo told Fox News.

"And so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party," he added.

Pompeo said the data that companies like TikTok are gleaning about Americans "could be their facial recognition pattern; it could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to."

Earlier, in another ominous US warning to the Chinese-owned app, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said TikTok should be sold or blocked in the US.

TikTok, Mnuchin said, simply "cannot exist as it does."

Mnuchin did not comment directly on Trump's threat Friday to bar the wildly popular video-sharing app.

The secretary recalled that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States -- which he chairs -- is reviewing TikTok, which is especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos and has an estimated one billion users worldwide. 

But in one of many fronts in the increasingly poisonous US-Chinese relationship, US officials have said it could be a tool for Chinese intelligence. TikTok denies any such suggestion.

"I will say publicly that the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans," Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC.

Mnuchin said he has spoken to leaders of Congress including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, about what to do with TikTok's operations in the US.

"We agree there needs to be a change -- force a sale or block the app. Everybody agrees it can't exist as it does," Mnuchin said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that negotiations for Microsoft to buy the US operations of TikTok, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, are on hold after Trump threatened to bar the app.

TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its general manager for the US, Vanessa Pappas, telling users that the company was working to give them "the safest app," amid US concerns over data security. 

"We're not planning on going anywhere," Pappas said in a message released on the app.

DONALD TRUMP MIKE POMPEO TIKTOK
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 20, 2020 - 9:45am

The latest news about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

October 20, 2020 - 9:45am

Facebook unveils software based on machine learning which the company said was the first to be able to translate from any of 100 languages without relying on English.

The open-source artificial intelligence software was created to help the massive social network deliver content better in 160 languages to its more than two billion users around the world.

"This milestone is a culmination of years of Facebook AI's foundational work in machine translation," research assistant Angela Fan says in a blog post. — AFP

October 16, 2020 - 5:14pm

Twitter has altered its policy on hacked content after its decision to block a news report critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden provoked Republican fury.

The social media behemoth -- used by hundreds of millions worldwide -- says it would in future only block stolen information which was posted directly by hackers, and label any other information of questionable provenance. — AFP

October 16, 2020 - 7:31am

Twitter was working Thursday evening to resolve a global outage of the social media platform used by hundreds of millions worldwide.

The outage marked a new setback for the network, which is fending off accusations of bias over the decision to block a news report critical of Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden.

"We know people are having trouble tweeting and using Twitter. We're working to fix this issue as quickly as possible," a company spokesperson told AFP at 2225 GMT.

Repeated attempts to post a tweet were greeted with the message: "Something went wrong, but don't fret — let's give it another shot."

According to downdetector.com, users on every continent had reported being unable to use the platform, but the outages were concentrated on the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as Japan. — AFP

October 10, 2020 - 10:31am

Twitter says it will take down calls for violence starting after polls close on US election day and slap warnings on premature victory claims to fight efforts to undermine the election.

When it comes to a winner in any race, Twitter will require an announcement by an election official or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets making independent election calls.

The California tech giant will also invite people to add their thoughts to retweets instead of just mindlessly sharing, according to legal lead Vijaya Gadde and product lead Kayvon Beykpour. — AFP

October 7, 2020 - 1:31pm

A US House of Representatives panel in a report Tuesday accuses four Big Tech firms of acting as "monopolies," calling for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement that could potentially lead to breakups of the giant firms.

But the report by the House Judiciary Committee failed to win the endorsement of Republican members, highlighting a partisan divide despite widespread criticism of the tech giants.

The 449-page document concludes that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google "engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves."

"Companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons," the report says. —AFP

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