Author Topic: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon  (Read 1321 times)

Liberty

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12906
  • libertyrpf.com
    • http://www.libertyrpf.com
'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« on: July 14, 2020, 09:26:29 AM »
https://stratechery.com/2020/the-tiktok-war/

Interesting read on TikTok and what has been going on lately, how it differs from social networks, what China's ambitions mean, etc.

It brings to my mind the paradox of tolerance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Quote
The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that, "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 09:57:41 AM by Liberty »


Jurgis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5503
    • Porfolio
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 10:21:02 AM »
It brings to my mind the paradox of tolerance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Quote
The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that, "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."

Thanks for the pointer. I did not know this was a thing.
"Human civilization? It might be a good idea." - Not Gandhi
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"Money is an illusion" - Not Karl Marx
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"

patience_and_focus

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 59
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 11:01:00 AM »
It brings to my mind the paradox of tolerance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Quote
The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that, "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."

Thanks for the pointer. I did not know this was a thing.

Popper in my view is probably one of the greatest philosophers of all time and not just the last century. Just his contribution to philosophy of science is unparalleled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_problem

Jurgis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5503
    • Porfolio
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 11:30:58 AM »
I have an issue with Ben's suggestion to ban TikTok that is based (partially) on the claim that nobody knows TikTok's algorithm and that this algorithm can be tweaked to promote Chinese propaganda and censor info that is negative about CCP.

Fact is: nobody knows algorithm of any Western or non-Western social network, news service or app either. So Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, RT, NYT, Breitbart, etc. can all promote whatever propaganda they want and censor info that they want. IMO banning TikTok is problematic for a number of reasons: 1. There are IMO way worse actors that are not banned. 2. It is a knee-jerk reaction against China. 3. Yes, this would make Western world look like China. And because of reasons 1 and 2, it would look like China is being singled out, when other bad (worse) actors get to continue operating 4. It would continue on the pretty slippery road of precedents of what is allowed/banned/controlled whether China-based or not. There's already questionable road and decisions of what Facebook/Twitter should show/ban/control/etc. both based on politics and on business demands. Banning TikTok would just add to that mess of contradictory demands and controls.

IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.
"Human civilization? It might be a good idea." - Not Gandhi
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"Money is an illusion" - Not Karl Marx
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"

Borgesian

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 10:09:43 PM »
IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.

I think this is the issue at hand and I believe you are underplaying it when you say it is easy to handle, no one believes that laws such as GDPR would stop the Chinese government from getting the data they want. Basically if they want the data and you are a Chinese company, they will very likely get it.

Jurgis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5503
    • Porfolio
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2020, 10:20:57 PM »
IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.

I think this is the issue at hand and I believe you are underplaying it when you say it is easy to handle, no one believes that laws such as GDPR would stop the Chinese government from getting the data they want. Basically if they want the data and you are a Chinese company, they will very likely get it.

Yes, but this is something that there are laws for and these laws can be enforced. It's not a small amount of data. You can force the company to store data in US/EU data centers. You can detect gigabytes or terabytes being transferred from US/European data centers to China and sue the company for it. Sure there likely will be illegal leaks. Detect them and punish the company. You hit it for 4% revenue, it makes a dent. And if it's not enough, pass the laws to hit repeat offenders with sanctions and bans. IMO that's the right way to deal with the issue. JMO though.
"Human civilization? It might be a good idea." - Not Gandhi
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"Money is an illusion" - Not Karl Marx
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"

Spekulatius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5126
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 04:19:01 AM »
IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.

I think this is the issue at hand and I believe you are underplaying it when you say it is easy to handle, no one believes that laws such as GDPR would stop the Chinese government from getting the data they want. Basically if they want the data and you are a Chinese company, they will very likely get it.

Yes, but this is something that there are laws for and these laws can be enforced. It's not a small amount of data. You can force the company to store data in US/EU data centers. You can detect gigabytes or terabytes being transferred from US/European data centers to China and sue the company for it. Sure there likely will be illegal leaks. Detect them and punish the company. You hit it for 4% revenue, it makes a dent. And if it's not enough, pass the laws to hit repeat offenders with sanctions and bans. IMO that's the right way to deal with the issue. JMO though.

I agree with Jurgis here, GDRS like laws would solve the TikTok issue and many others too. It would pretty much guarantee that TikTok USA would become its own company with its own servers, firewalls etc. It can be done, but regulators do need to show some teeth when violations occur.
Life is too short for cheap beer and wine.

Liberty

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12906
  • libertyrpf.com
    • http://www.libertyrpf.com
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 06:50:54 AM »
I have an issue with Ben's suggestion to ban TikTok that is based (partially) on the claim that nobody knows TikTok's algorithm and that this algorithm can be tweaked to promote Chinese propaganda and censor info that is negative about CCP.

Fact is: nobody knows algorithm of any Western or non-Western social network, news service or app either. So Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, RT, NYT, Breitbart, etc. can all promote whatever propaganda they want and censor info that they want. IMO banning TikTok is problematic for a number of reasons: 1. There are IMO way worse actors that are not banned. 2. It is a knee-jerk reaction against China. 3. Yes, this would make Western world look like China. And because of reasons 1 and 2, it would look like China is being singled out, when other bad (worse) actors get to continue operating 4. It would continue on the pretty slippery road of precedents of what is allowed/banned/controlled whether China-based or not. There's already questionable road and decisions of what Facebook/Twitter should show/ban/control/etc. both based on politics and on business demands. Banning TikTok would just add to that mess of contradictory demands and controls.

IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.

I disagree. I think he makes his case well that there's a big difference between these players and their relationships to the governments that have jurisdiction over them and what the laws and culture of these countries are.

Jurgis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5503
    • Porfolio
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 06:57:02 AM »
There is another point: so you want to ban TikTok app. What if TikTok provides web-based interface? Will you implement Chinese Firewall to prevent people accessing TikTok via web? And once you do, where does that stop?
"Human civilization? It might be a good idea." - Not Gandhi
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"Money is an illusion" - Not Karl Marx
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"

Jurgis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5503
    • Porfolio
Re: 'The Tiktok war' by Ben Thomspon
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 06:58:19 AM »
I have an issue with Ben's suggestion to ban TikTok that is based (partially) on the claim that nobody knows TikTok's algorithm and that this algorithm can be tweaked to promote Chinese propaganda and censor info that is negative about CCP.

Fact is: nobody knows algorithm of any Western or non-Western social network, news service or app either. So Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, RT, NYT, Breitbart, etc. can all promote whatever propaganda they want and censor info that they want. IMO banning TikTok is problematic for a number of reasons: 1. There are IMO way worse actors that are not banned. 2. It is a knee-jerk reaction against China. 3. Yes, this would make Western world look like China. And because of reasons 1 and 2, it would look like China is being singled out, when other bad (worse) actors get to continue operating 4. It would continue on the pretty slippery road of precedents of what is allowed/banned/controlled whether China-based or not. There's already questionable road and decisions of what Facebook/Twitter should show/ban/control/etc. both based on politics and on business demands. Banning TikTok would just add to that mess of contradictory demands and controls.

IMO, the more realistic and limited solution is to prevent TikTok from phoning home (slurping the data to China). This clearly can be done within GDPR+similar US laws. This does not prevent propaganda and censorship, but prevents info gathering. And IMO this is likely a bigger threat and also a threat that is easier to handle.

I disagree. I think he makes his case well that there's a big difference between these players and their relationships to the governments that have jurisdiction over them and what the laws and culture of these countries are.

So you would also ban RT, Al Jazeera, and what else? News service of every government you don't like?
And when Trump does not like Germany anymore, would you also ban all German news services?
"Human civilization? It might be a good idea." - Not Gandhi
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"Money is an illusion" - Not Karl Marx
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"