Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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Liberals’ Facebook Diplomacy Print
By Ashton Ellis
Tuesday, April 26 2011
According to a leader of the Democratic Party, the world’s most valuable social networking site – currently estimated at $50 billion – must become an uncompensated promoter of a human rights agenda the United States government won’t defend in person.

Who knew Democrats could be dubbed the “Outsourcing Party”?  Not only do their tax-and-regulate policies threaten to send more jobs overseas, their methods for conducting diplomacy and fighting wars herald a new era of disengagement. 

Historically, the tech industry prefers an unfettered free market to government intervention, so it spends peanuts on federal lobbying.  As of last year, social networking giant Facebook spent only $351,000 on lobbyists. 

Until now.  Recent reporting confirms that Facebook is ramping up its presence in Washington, D.C., with a new office and several high-profile hires.  Before a premature leak scuttled the deal, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs was close to becoming the personification of Facebook in D.C.  (Insert joke here.)

Why the about-face?  In a word: pressure.  With Facebook boasting 600 million users worldwide, political concerns are starting to overshadow its place in popular culture. 

In February, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticizing the company for “refusing” to testify before his human rights subcommittee on whether internet companies are doing enough to protect foreign dissidents. 

At issue is Durbin’s angst over the inability of Facebook users to use aliases online.  Using one’s real name allows a government to track dissidents. 

Obviously, Durbin doesn’t use Facebook.  If he did, he would know that Facebook does not require a user to supply a real name.  All that is necessary is any name and an email address that verifies the usage.  If democracy advocates in repressive countries can open multiple email accounts, they can establish multiple Facebook accounts. 

Durbin’s letter also faulted Facebook for failing to join Google, Microsoft and others in a group called the Global Network Initiative (GNI).  The organization’s stated purpose is to create a voluntary code of conduct for companies to protect human rights internationally. 

Unsurprisingly, Durbin disregarded the voluntary nature of GNI, opting to browbeat Facebook into an alliance with competitors. 

Besides, while it’s nice to see a one-time collaborator with Chinese censorship (Google) now taking a stand for corporate responsibility, pardon Facebook if it chooses the well-trodden path of profits before posturing. 

After all, Facebook is a business trying to make money.  Durbin is a leading member of the world’s most powerful government.  If Democrats in Congress want someone to blame for the lack of support given to democracy advocates in the Middle East, they should look in the mirror. 

Of course, reality infuriates Durbin and other liberals.  They prefer to coerce others into doing the work they abandon. 

At the beginning of her tenure, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that China’s human rights abuses “can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis.”  

That line of Clintonian logic stretches back to husband Bill’s decision as president to allow Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization because free trade would make the government more open politically. 

It turns out you can get economic growth without an increase in political freedom.  Just ask two of China’s recently jailed dissidents, Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo and world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei. 

President Barack Obama is making his own contribution to the policy of disengagement. 

Remember, Obama is the Gen X president who prefers to let technology do the heavy lifting.  In Pakistan and Libya, American pilots are replaced with unmanned drone bombers.  Directed by military contractors using a joystick in Texas or Nevada, those missions change the consequences – but not the experience – of playing a video game. 

No wonder death in a digital world seems so painless. 

And when technology fails to deliver the results wanted, the buck doesn’t stop at the Oval Office.  It continues on a feedback loop until it rests at the feet of its owner. 

Such is the situation facing Facebook.  According to a leader of the Democratic Party, the world’s most valuable social networking site – currently estimated at $50 billion – must become an uncompensated promoter of a human rights agenda the United States government won’t defend in person. 

Whether it’s pressuring internet companies to defend human rights abroad or trading boots on the ground for robots in the sky, modern liberalism suffers from a deadly delusion: War and diplomacy no longer require direct human contact.   

Instead of politicians making policy, we’ve got blowhards conscripting computer nerds to fight tyrants from their laptops. 

That is your government (hardly) at work.

Notable Quote   
 
"A nursing student bludgeoned to death near a tranquil Georgia college campus. A developmentally disabled person raped in Boston. A mother and son killed in a head-on crash in Colorado. New York's finest assaulted in the heralded Times Square.The roll-call of victims violated by Joe Biden's border policies is rising as fast as the hotel and welfare tabs for sanctuary cities, thrusting an American…[more]
 
 
— John Solomon, Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief of Just the News
 
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