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      Apple’s China ties under Congressional scrutiny after Jon Stewart cancellation / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 15 November - 22:29

    Apple’s China ties under Congressional scrutiny after Jon Stewart cancellation

    Enlarge (credit: Michael Reaves / Stringer | Getty Images North America )

    Lawmakers apparently balked after learning that Apple canceled the critically acclaimed weekly streaming talk show, The Problem with Jon Stewart , last month—reportedly over issues with the show's planned programming related to both China and artificial intelligence .

    In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party urged Apple to explain its decision to end production of The Problem with Jon Stewart and "accelerate its efforts to reduce its dependence on" China. These steps, lawmakers wrote, are critical to help address "broader concerns about indirect Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence over the creative expression of American artists and companies on CCP-related topics."

    While lawmakers acknowledged that Apple has "the right to determine what content is appropriate for their streaming service," they argued that "the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations."

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      TikTok would be banned from US “for good” under bipartisan bill / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 13 December, 2022 - 23:11 · 1 minute

    TikTok would be banned from US “for good” under bipartisan bill

    Enlarge (credit: Chesnot / Contributor | Getty Images Europe )

    In September, President Joe Biden announced that TikTok would remain accessible in the US once a deal could be worked out to assuage national security concerns. At that time, Biden said it would take months for his administration to weigh all the potential risks involved in inking the deal. Among detractors of the brewing deal, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) emerged, alleging in a Washington Post op-ed that any deal that Biden arranged with the Chinese-owned social media platform “would dangerously compromise national security.”

    Now, Marco and Gallagher have teamed up with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) to introduce new bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives, formally calling for a ban on TikTok. It’s the only way, lawmakers feel, that TikTok can truly be stopped from collecting sensitive data on Americans for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and censoring content to influence elections, sow discord, or potentially even "indoctrinate" users.

    “The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok,” Rubio said in a press release . “We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections. We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”

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      Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news / ArsTechnica · Monday, 28 November, 2022 - 18:51 · 1 minute

    Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news

    Enlarge (credit: SOPA Images / Contributor | LightRocket )

    This weekend, widespread protests erupted in China in what amounted to “the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades,” AP News reported . Many protesters attempted to document events live to spread awareness and inspire solidarity across Twitter. Demonstrations were so powerful that Chinese authorities actually seemed to cave, appeasing some of the protesters’ demands by easing the severe lockdown restrictions that sparked the protests.

    This could have been a moment that showed how Twitter under Elon Musk is still a relevant breaking-news source, still a place where free speech demonstrations reach the masses, and thus, still the only place to track escalating protests like these. Instead, The Washington Post reported that a flood of “useless tweets” effectively buried live footage from protests. This blocked users from easily following protest news, while Twitter seemingly did nothing to stop what researchers described as an apparent Chinese influence operation.

    For hours, these tweets dropped Chinese city names where protests occurred into posts that were mostly advertising pornography and adult escort services. And it worked, preventing users attempting to search city names in Chinese from easily seeing updates on the protests. Researchers told The Post that the tweets were posted from a range of Chinese-language accounts that hadn’t been used for months or even years. The tweets began appearing early Sunday, shortly after protesters started calling for Communist Party leaders to resign.

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