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ByteDance and TikTok Sue US Government Over Looming Ban

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  • ByteDance and TikTok sued the U.S. government Monday over its August 6 Executive Order to ban the app.
  • ByteDance claims that the order denies it due process under the 5th Amendment and that the President hasn’t cited a proper justification for banning the app.
  • Notably, President Trump retroactively included TikTok as part of a 2019 National Emergency declaration that was supposed to protect telecommunications services and banned Chinese companies in the sector, such as Huawei.
  • TikTok claims it doesn’t meet the criteria to be included in that ban.
  • Additionally, TikTok claims it has worked with U.S. authorities to prove it is secure and has been purposefully ignored by government officials investigating the matter.

ByteDance Decides To Push Lawsuit

ByteDance filed a lawsuit against the United States government Monday, claiming that President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban TikTok denied it due process and lacked the proper legal justification.

That Executive Order was issued in early August and meant that TikTok, the ByteDance owned platform, would be effectively banned by September 15 unless it found a U.S.-based buyer.

In their complaint, ByteDance and TikTok argue that they aren’t a national security threat and were denied due process under the Fifth Amendment.

The Executive Order issued by the Administration on August 6, 2020 has the potential to strip the rights of [the TikTok] community without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process,” the two added in the suit.

One of TikTok’s big problems with the administration’s decision is the fact that it apparently tried to work with U.S. authorities to alleviate fears over potential national security risks. For example, TikTok claims it gave “voluminous documentation” to the U.S. that proved user data is stored outside of China. Instead, it’s stored in the U.S. and Singapore. TikTok added that those documents showed its platform was secure from Chinese authorities, which is one of the biggest concerns U.S. authorities have about the app.

The company also was frustrated that the U.S. government reached out about ByteDance’s acquisition of Musc.ly, a precursor to TikTok, two years after the deal was done. Bytedance claims that it had given documentation to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to prove its security measures were more than enough to satisfy any concerns. Yet, it says that that committee, “never articulated any reason why TikTok’s security measures were inadequate to address any national security concerns, and effectively terminated formal communications with Plaintiffs well before the conclusion of the initial statutory review period.”

The fact that CFIUS was even looking into ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly in the first place is pretty notable as well. Musical.ly was a Chinese company that was bought by another Chinese company. Additionally, Musical.ly had very few assets in the U.S., most of which were sold off soon after being bought by ByteDance.

ByteDance is unsure why the CFIUS was investigating the matter, as the committee is supposed to ensure that foreign companies investing in American ones aren’t a national security risk. However, all of ByteDance’s transactions were between Chinese firms.

ByteDance is also arguing that“By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard… the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.” The complaint goes on to say, “The order is ultra vires because it is not based on a bona fide national emergency and authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to pose ‘an unusual and extraordinary threat.'”

The Administration’s Authority

Trump’s order to ban TikTok hinges on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. That act allows the President to regulate international trade in limited cases where he or she has declared a National Emergency over an extraordinary threat to the country.

Trump’s August executive order didn’t make a new national emergency for TikTok, it just classified it under a May 15, 2019 Executive Order that declared a National Emergency over the security of information and communications technology services. That order was targeted at companies like Chinese telecommunication companies such as Huawei, which have been accused by multiple nations of having close ties with China.

TikTok argues that it doesn’t fall under any of the categories that the order outlines and are improperly lumped into the same group. That may be true, but that 2019 order was extremely vague and has yet to be tested under these conditions in court. The order’s language encompasses just about any hardware or software company that could be associated with the telecommunications or communications industry.

TikTok will need to be able to prove that their app has nothing to do with those sectors to fall outside of the orders purview, which has yet to be considered by a judge. In the end, TikTok is confident that “the Administration’s decisions were heavily politicized, and industry experts have said the same.”

During all of this, there are reports that both Microsoft and Oracle are still in talks to buy TikTok, although it’s unclear if a successful suit by ByteDance will change those plans.

See What Others Are Saying: (CNET) (New York Times) (CNBC)

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Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity

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The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.


Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation

YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.  

The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”

If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.

Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.” 

Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves

Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.

“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”

It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.

On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.

Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”

It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”

Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully

While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans. 

This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.

Earlier this year, Paul was also accused of sexual assault, though he denied those allegations.

See what others are saying: (Dexerto)

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Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary

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The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission. 


Bourdain’s Voice Recreated

“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.

Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.

That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.

Director Defends Use of AI Voice

The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film. 

“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.” 

Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”

In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”

“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”

“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.” 

The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled

But many want to have that discussion now.

Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.  

Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”

“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted. 

Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”

Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether. 

“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.

Celebrities Recreated After Death

The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.

In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.

See what others are saying: (BBC) (Yahoo! News) (Variety)

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Doctors Want You to Know: Whatever You Do, Don’t Stick Garlic up Your Nose to Try and Relieve Congestion

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They warn the new TikTok trend could cause even worse problems, such as irritation and swelling. 


TikTok Garlic Nose Trend

In a viral trend that feels eerily similar to the Nutmeg Challenge, doctors are now warning people against participating in a TikTok trend that has users shoving whole cloves of garlic up their noses for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 

In the videos, creators claim that garlic can relieve sinus congestion, and once they pull the cloves out of their nostrils, an excessive amount of snot comes flowing out of their noses. 

“Since tik tok took it down the first time. THIS IS NOT DANGEROUS. The garlic cleans out your sinuses,” TikTok user hwannah5 said in a June 25 post. 

Source: @hwannah5

Doctors’ Warnings

Doctors are now warning the opposite, saying that there’s no medical proof garlic acts as a decongestant. 

As Dr. Richard Wender of the University of Pennsylvania told Insider, “Evidence is important, and it would be wrong to say that we’ve done extensive research about garlic in noses.”

“But in general, garlic itself and the chemicals of garlic don’t interact much with human tissue,” he added. 

Wender went on to explain that stuffing one’s nose with foreign objects can actually cause irritation and swelling, rather than relief. 

“Yes, it’s true that garlic has some antibacterial properties, which means it may be useful to treat a variety of common ailments,” Dr. Deborah Lee from Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy told Delish. “In one study, those who took garlic supplements for three months had less colds than those who did not. But this is not the same as actively treating a stuffy nose or blocked sinuses. Garlic is not a decongestant, and in fact, may just irritate the lining of the nose and airways and make symptoms worse.”

As far as what’s causing streams of snot to pour out of people’s noses after inserting their garlic plugs, Wender said that may be occurring because the nose produces mucus when irritated. On top of that, the cloves can also block already-existing mucus from flowing. 

Instead, doctors recommend using already-known solutions if you’re feeling congested, such as vapor rubs, antihistamines, over-the-counter saline sprays, and neti pots. 

TikTok user hwannah5 later responded to a doctor’s explanation that the clove blocks create rather than clear mucus, noting that others shouldn’t repeatedly try the blocks. Doctors contend that the trend should not be done at all. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Delish) (The Star)

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