Home United States USA — software Teen girls don’t need to be protected from TikTok — they are...

Teen girls don’t need to be protected from TikTok — they are TikTok


On Thursday, Congress held a hearing where TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified following growing calls to ban the video-based app. Lawmakers say they want to protect young women and girls, but the idea is flawed.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified on behalf of the app to a united — and ornery — U.S. Congress. He was called in to address growing concerns from U.S. lawmakers that his platform, TikTok, threatened national security because of its parent company’s ties to the Chinese government. While discussions of national security played a large role in the often one-sided discussions — many representatives did not even give Chew the opportunity to respond to questions — another, perhaps equally large, strain of thought animated the hearing: a growing panic that American children, in particular young girls, would be influenced by the evils of the clock app.
“TikTok also targets our children. The For You algorithm is a tool for TikTok to own their attention, and prey on their innocence. Within minutes of creating an account, your algorithm can promote suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders to children. It encourages challenges to put their lives in danger, and allows adults to prey on our beautiful, beloved daughters,” said the chair of the committee, Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, in her introductory speech.
Paternalistic attitudes, specifically those aimed at young women and girls, dominate much of contemporary political thought when it comes to the question of how we regulate internet platforms. It often comes with a research-based impetus — the usage of social media apps like Instagram has been linked with eating disorders — and sends a strong moral imperative to older constituents: Your daughter is in danger, and we need to protect her. We saw it this week with the TikTok hearing, and we saw it two years ago when lawmakers confronted executives from Facebook and Instagram, which are both owned by Meta.
This line of thinking embodies old-school patriarchal narratives that young women are in danger, and they need to be protected.

Continue reading...