How China is Protecting its Children and Making Ours Stupid with Two Different Versions of TikTok

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How China is protecting its children and making ours stupid with two different versions of TikTok

TECHNOLOGY: The differences between the Chinese and international versions of TikTok raise a question: that of the cutinization of youth by foreign soft power.

“On their version of TikTok, if you’re under 14, they show you science experiments to do at home, museum tours, patriotic or educational videos. And they limit usage to forty minutes a day. They are not streaming this version of TikTok to the rest of the world. They know that technology influences the development of young people. For their home market, they sell an impoverished form while exporting opium to the rest of the world.”  It is Tristan Harris who speaks at the microphone of the prestigious American program “60 Minutes”, on CBS.


If the name Tristan Harris means nothing to you, you just need to know that he is a former high-ranking Google employee; that he left the company in 2015 after having warned in the early 2010s of the dangerous effects that new technologies have on our attention; that he testified at length in the excellent documentary Behind Our Smoke Screens on Netflix (which you absolutely have to watch)… In short, you can trust Tristan Harris. He knows what he is talking about. He pursues: “Studies in China and the United States have sought to find out from young people the career that can inspire them for their future. The answer? In the United States: Influencer. And in China: astronaut. Let these two societies play out over a few generations, and I can tell you what the world is going to be like.”

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