Setting The Scene
Let’s take a step back now and look a little deeper into the safety concerns that have been emerging recently for TikTok. More than one third of its 49 million daily users are 14 years old or younger. The minimum age to create an account is 13, however, it appears that many kids are simply lying about their birth date in order to skirt around this rule. This brings up a huge array of privacy concerts. In the U.S., the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires internet platforms to obtain parental permission before collecting personal information on children under 13. For the government, it’s not only a concern that the Chinese government may be gathering information on American citizens, it’s also worrisome that many of these individuals could be young children. In fact, back in 2018, Musical.ly which merged with TikTok was fined by the Federal Trade Commission for failing to obtain parental consent.
Let’s face the facts here, the internet is weird af. We’ve been hearing all about conspiracy theories surrounding Britney Spears as well as something called PizzaGate. It all started with our man Justin Bieber, who had innocuously touched his black beanie in a video post on Instagram after a user commented to do so if he had been a victim of the supposed child-trafficking PizzaGate ring. This post blew up and we learned that before the 2016 election, a conspiracy arose that former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton were running a sex trafficking ring out of a Washington D.C. pizzaria. While social platforms were able to largely suppress this misinformation for the past few years, now that the election is around the corner, the theory is back and is quickly taking off on TikTok. The conspiracy group, Qanon, and others are now including more than just political figures in this, the list now expands to a ton of celebs and business people. TikTok shows that videos with #PizzaGate have been viewed over 80 million times over these last few months. This has forced the platform to remove the hashtag and all searchable content within the term itself.