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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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How Snapchat, Kylie Jenner, and David Dobrik Are Helping Boost U.S. Voter Registrations

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  • Snapchat has helped more than 1 million people register to vote through an in-app feature.
  • According to the company, about 56% of people who registered to vote through the app this year are first-time voters, and about 65% are voters ages 18 to 24.
  • On top of that, Snapchat also had large amounts of users registering in historically red or battleground states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.
  • Massive stars like Kylie Jenner and David Dobrik also caught attention this week for encouraging voter registration.
  • Jenner did so with bikini photos that directed fans to vote.org, meanwhile, Dobrik did so by launching a Tesla giveaway that requires participants to check their voter registration status.

Snapchat Helps Register Over 1 Million Voters

Snapchat said Thursday that is has helped more than 1 million people register to vote through its in-app tool. The move aligns with several recent pushes encouraging voter registration from both companies and notable public figures.

More than half of the 1 million who registered through the social media platform did so in less than a month, the company added.

While the numbers are less than the 2.5 million who have signed up through Facebook, they’re still incredibly important and impressive.

Experts also find them particularly interesting because Snapchat reaches much younger audiences, which could play a huge role in affecting the outcomes in certain areas.

Snapchat said about 56% of people who registered to vote through the app this year are first-time voters and about 65% are voters ages 18 to 24, a Snapchat spokesperson estimated.

On top of that, the company also had large amounts of users registering in historically red or battleground states. 

The company says it saw more signups to register in Texas than in any other state, with some of the largest additions coming from Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Aside from the in-app registration tool, Snapchat had already been working to helping inform its users about voting with public service announcements from lawmakers in both parties, as well as celebrities and influencers.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Snapchat says it will continue sending reminders to users about early voting deadlines in their states and will ensure that information and news in the app is accurate. 

Kylie Jenner and David Dobrik Boost Voter Registration

However, it’s not just social media platforms working to boost voter registration ahead of the election. A ton of big-name celebrities and influencers have been their platforms to do the same.

One unique approach came from none other than Kylie Jenner. She took to Instagram on Monday to post some bikini pics for her 196 million followers, captioning the post: “but are you registered to vote? click the link in my bio.. let’s make a plan to vote together.”

That link directs users to Vote.org, where users can check their voter registration status. According to a TMZ report Wednesday, the thirst trap resulted in “nearly 50,000 potential new registered voters.”

The article went on to say that Vote.org saw a 1500% boost from traffic driven via Instagram, and got over an 80% increase in total users of its voter registration and verification tool from the prior day.
TMZ says all translates to more than 48,000 users going to the site through Kylie’s post.

Those numbers, of course, are likely still rising.

Another massive star encouraging voter registration this week was YouTube’s own David Dobrik.

He’s partnered with Headcount, a nonpartisan nonprofit that promotes voter registration, and together they’re giving away five brand new Tesla Model 3s. 

In order to win, participants must check to see that they are registered to vote on the Headcount website. 

Voter registration is not necessary, but participants will have the opportunity to register if they haven’t yet. The contest started midday Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning, Headcount has said the campaign has been a record-shattering success.

It generated 10,000 new voter registrations within the first hour of launch and allowed 23,000 people to verify that they had already registered within that same time frame. 

On Wednesday morning, Headcount also said the numbers for registrations and verifications had reached 82,000 and 212,000, respectively, which makes this the organization’s largest campaign to date. 

By Thursday, the numbers hit 100,000 new registrations and 250,000 verifications, with the Headcount saying on Instagram, “This is unprecedented in the entire history of celebrity-led voter engagement campaigns.

It’s extra inspiring to know that David is a “Dreamer” (DACA recipient) who can’t vote in the U.S, but has used his platform to help others make their voice heard. A true act of patriotism if there ever was one.

Of course, that number too is expected to get even higher in the coming days. The contest closes at 11:59 p.m ET on Sunday, October 4th. The winners will be randomly selected and announced Monday.

Like in Snapchat’s case, this campaign will no doubt have an impact on younger audiences because Dobrik’s fanbase consists of Gen Z and Millenials. Headcount says those groups make up 37% of all eligible voters, though they are drastically under-registered.

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (TMZ) (Tubefilter)

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TikTok’s Bryce Hall Launches Finance Podcast

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  • TikToker Bryce Hall has just launched a finance podcast titled “Capital University” with entrepreneur and investor Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano.
  • Pompliano will serve as a mentor figure, teaching Hall and listeners about building generational wealth, the basics of investing, and money management.
  • Hall was inspired to start the project after learning from the mistakes he made with money early on in his career. In the first episode of the podcast, he was also critical of other influencers who rely on YouTube ad revenue and TikTok brand deals while overspending on lavish items.
  • Some wonder if this venture will help change the public’s perception of Hall, who has developed a negative reputation for throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Capital University

TikTok star and Sway House member Bryce Hall officially launched a finance podcast Tuesday where he and his fans will learn about money management.

The 21-year-old’s podcast is called “Capital University,” and he’s joined by co-host Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, an entrepreneur and investor who has worked for companies like Facebook and Snapchat before getting into venture capital.

Pompliano is supposed to serve as a sort of mentor figure, teaching Hall and listeners about building generational wealth, the basics of investing, and other tips for ensuring financial security.

Inspiration Behind the Podcast

However, Hall will also use the podcast to talk about his personal experience with fame and wealth at a young age. He told PEOPLE magazine that the idea for the podcast stemmed from mistakes he made earlier in his career.

″I always thought money was an object,″ Hall said. ″I was spending money before I even had it.″

He also talked about going ″completely broke″ and getting hit with taxes. All of this made him realize the importance of money management, which he though his fans might also want to know about.

Though he’s admitted to making mistakes with his money, he’s definitely worked to turn things around. For instance, he recently created an energy drink company called Ani with fellow Sway House creator Josh Richards.

On top of that, in the first episode of the podcast, Hall talked about his four-month-old merch brand, Party Animal, saying it clocked in more than $1 million in its first quarter.

Criticism of Other Influencers

With this new interest in learning about finance and business, the public could be seeing a lot more from Hall soon.

At the same time though, he also caught some attention for calling out the spending habits of another TikTok star, Thoman Petrou. He’s the co-founder of the Hype House, and Hall claims that Petrou, like other influencers, is taking a shorter-term approach in his career by relying on YouTube ad revenue and TikTok brand deals.

In fact, Hall estimated that Petrou makes about $150,000 a month but says he overspends on lavish items.

“He, along with many other influencers, like to really prove that they’re making a shit ton of money,” he said in the first episode of the podcast.

“But when you spend it like an idiot, and you’re buying like McLarens, Porsches, i8s, like just cash, I look at these kids and I’m like ‘Oh my god. They’re so stupid.'”

“They don’t understand that social media, this poppin’ time that they’re in, isn’t going to last forever, and right now, when you’re at the top, this is when you’re going to be making the most money. You just got to find a way to sustain it.”

For now, it will be interesting to see the reactions to this venture, and Hall’s new interest in finance has some wondering if it could change people’s perception of him. Hall earned himself a bad reputation for repeatedly throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Still, some compare his success to that of YouTube Jake Paul, who is also recognized as a businessman and entrepreneur but has continued to embroil himself in controversies.

See what others are saying: (PEOPLE) (Tubefilter)

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Influencers Exposed for Posting Fake Private Jet Photos

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  • A viral tweet showed a studio set in Los Angeles, California that is staged to look like the inside of a private jet.
  • Some influencers were called out for using that very same studio to take social media photos and videos.
  • While some slammed them for faking their lifestyles online, others poked fun at the behavior and noted that this is something stars like Bow Wow have been caught doing before.
  • Others have even gone so far as to buy and pose with empty designer shopping bags to pretend they went on a massive spending spree.

A tweet went viral over the weekend exposing the secret behind some influencer travel photos.

“Nahhhhh I just found out LA ig girlies are using studio sets that look like private jets for their Instagram pics,” Twitter user @maisonmelissa wrote Thursday.

“It’s crazy that anything you’re looking at could be fake. The setting, the clothes, the body… idk it just kinda of shakes my reality a bit lol,” she continued in a tweet that quickly garnered over 100,000 likes.

The post included photos of a private jet setup that’s actually a studio in California, which you can rent for $64 an hour on the site Peerspace.

As the tweet picked up attention, many began calling out influencers who they noticed have posted photos or videos in that very same studio.

@the7angels

Come fly with the angels 👼

♬ Hugh Hefner – ppcocaine

Perhaps the most notable influencers to be called out were the Mian Twins, who eventually edited their Instagram captions to admit they were on a set.

While a ton of people were upset about this, others pointed out that it’s not exactly that new of an idea. Even Bow Wow was once famously called out in 2017 for posting a private plane photo on social media before being spotted on a commercial flight. 

Twitter users even noted other ridiculous things some people do for the gram, like buying out empty shopping bags to pretend they’ve gone on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, others poked fun at the topic, like Lil Nas X, who is never one to miss out on a viral internet moment. He photoshopped himself into the fake private jet, sarcastically writing, “thankful for it all,” in his caption.

So ultimately, it seems like the moral of this story is: don’t believe everything you see on social media.

See what others are saying: (LADBible) (Dazed Digital) (Metro UK)

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