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TikTok Removed Over 7 Million Accounts of Suspected Underaged Users

The information was released in a transparency report from the platform

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Tik Tok

TikTok removed a whopping 7 million accounts of suspected underaged users in only the first three months of the year. The information was released in a transparency report from the platform. The accounts were believed to belong to a person under the age of 13. TikTok has a separate version for users under 12 that have additional safety protections in place.

The additional safety measures for young children were put into place after TikTok was charged a $5.7 million fine in 2019 to “settle with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it collected personal information from children” reports The Hill. “At the time, the fine from the app, then called Musical.ly, was the largest penalty ever obtained by the commission in a children’s privacy case.”

The 7 million accounts were among a total of 11 million accounts removed by TikTok in the first three months of the year. The remaining 4 million allegedly violated its community guidelines, according to the transparency report.

The report also mentions it prevented over 71 million accounts from being created through automated means and removed more than 12 million videos posted by spam accounts and that 61 million videos were removed globally.

The United States was the country with the largest volume of removed videos with over 8.5 million taken down thus far this year. Rounding out the top four countries with the largest number of removed videos were Pakistan, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia.

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Trump Will Not Return To Twitter Despite Elon Musk Acquisition

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Donald Trump

On Monday, former President Donald Trump said that he is not going to return to Twitter, which he was permanently banned from last year, after Twitter’s board of directors unanimously approved the sale of the company to Elon Musk.

Trump told Fox News that he is “not going on Twitter” and that he is instead going to be busy on his new social media platform, Truth Social.

“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump told Fox News. “We’re taking in millions of people, and what we’re finding is that the response on TRUTH is much better than being on Twitter. Twitter has bots and fake accounts, and we are doing everything we can.”

“The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter,” Trump concluded.

As Fox News explained, “Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Twitter deemed a number of his tweets connected to the violent protests as inflammatory and warned of ‘the risk of further incitement of violence.’”

On Monday, Twitter’s board of directors unanimously agreed to be acquired by Elon Musk for $54.20 per share, or approximately $44 billion.

“The two sides worked through the night to hash out a deal that would be valued at $54.20 a share, or $44 billion,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Twitter had been expected to rebuff the offer, which Mr. Musk made April 14 without saying how he would pay for it, and put in place a so-called poison pill to block him from increasing his stake. But after [Musk] disclosed that he has $46.5 billion in financing and the stock market swooned, Twitter changed its posture and opened the door to negotiations.”

In a press release, Musk highlighted the importance of free speech and Twitter’s role as a “digital town square.”

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

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Chinese-Owned TikTok Censored War against Ukraine for Russians Only, Created ‘Alternate Universe’

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China is publicly siding with Russia politically in its inhumane invasion of Ukraine, but when it comes to technology, things are a bit more convoluted. Last month TikTok seemingly joined other big tech companies siding with Ukraine over Russia in the war by suspending uploads and live streams from Russia.

TikTok said it made the move, along with others, to “protect Russia users from the country’s new laws criminalizing criticism of its military” , reports The Washington Post. However, the Chinese-owned social media app “also walled off Russian users from seeing any posts at all from outside the country, including from Ukraine.”

Thus, a censored, ‘alternate universe’ was created for tens of millions of Russians who were unable to see and learn of the critical posts and atrocities the Kremlin was creating outside the Russian TikTok bubble.

Giulia Giorgi, a researcher at Tracking Exposed shared with The Washington Post that “in just one month, TikTok went from being considered a serious threat to Putin’s national support for the war to becoming another possible conduit for state propaganda.”

Tracking exposed has been studying the platform’s policies and actions in Russia since February when the invasion of Ukraine began. “Our findings show clearly how TikTok’s actions influenced that trajectory” Giorgi said of the escalation of state propaganda.

Giorgi shared information with The Washington Post “that videos bearing pro-war hashtags such as ‘for us’ and ‘Putin top’ continued to proliferate on TikTok in Russia for weeks after the block, while previously popular antiwar hashtags all but vanished from the platform.”

Tracking Exposed’s co-director added “our findings unequivocally show that TikTok is not being transparent about its actions in Russia” said Marc Faddoul.

The Washington Post reports:

Among the new findings is that TikTok appears to have belatedly closed a loophole in late March that Russian propagandists and creators alike had been exploiting to evade its ban on new video uploads from inside the country. Since March 26, according to Tracking Exposed and others, TikTok users who access the app from Russia cannot see any new content at all, with the app’s For You page limited to posts from inside Russia before that date. Yet thousands of pro-Putin posts that went up between March 6 and March 26, circumventing TikTok’s stated policies, remain available on the platform, uncontested by any outside or antiwar narratives.

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