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The Truth About Tik Tok

After scrolling through the depths of Instagram and finding a relatively dry and boring explore page over Thanksgiving break, I decided to download TikTok as a way to avoid the awkward small talk that I was subjected to while my family was in town. Although I originally downloaded the app as a joke and thought I would delete it after a few days, I found myself sucked into the action of aimlessly scrolling through e-boy and “colorado-check” videos until I had wasted hours of my life and found myself returning to watch more viral videos each day. While TikTok provides an easy and amusing way to escape the stresses of daily life for many high schoolers, there are proving to be some potentially serious concerns emerging over this new obsession. 

Over the past few months, concerns have been raised about the censorship of TikTok videos and the app’s relation to China. In October, Senators Chuck Schumer (D) and Tom Cotton (R) requested that the US Department of Intelligence look into TikTok’s censorship of certain videos, the risk of counterintelligence in the Chinese Communist Party and foreign influence on US election. This inquiry is a response to the concerns that TikTok has been censoring videos of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and controlling content that US “TikTok-ers” can view. In a letter to the intelligence committee Schumer and Cotton wrote, “With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.” However, TikTok responded with a blog post on their website that their data storage is all located in centers outside of China and “[they] have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.” While this may be the case, there is no denying the fact that there have been cases of censorship regarding political issues documented on TikTok. A video, created by teen Feroza Aziz, exposed the conditions of the camps that millions of Uyghur Muslims that resemble concentration camps. Aziz’s account was suspended shortly afterward. TikTok responded by claiming that Aziz’s account was suspended due to a previous video about Bin-Laden, but declined to further elaborate on the content of that video. Additionally, as the New York Times claims, the frequent and notorious use of facial recognition in Xinjiang, China means it is quite possible that the Chinese government could be using the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, as a training platform for facial tracking. While it is unclear if the Xinjiang government is truly behind this popular platform, the concern from US government officials, journalists and citizens remains prominent.

 Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok are imposing threats to user privacy in a way that the generations before have not had to deal with and it is important that all social media users understand the risks that they are exposed to when using these relatively new apps and websites. This app could be changing our interaction with global entities while also influencing our local government. This seems like a high price to pay for 20 seconds of fame and entertainment. 

More recently TikTok has also been exposed for preventing videos created by disabled users from appearing on the “For You” page, preventing them from going viral. A leaked portion of theTikTok rule book shows that reviewers should be looking out for videos that could be “susceptible to cyberbullying based on their physical or mental condition.” It then stated examples of facial disfigurement, autism, down syndrome or disabled people with some facial problems such as a birthmark, slight quint and etc.” This has resulted in the censorship of videos by certain accounts and videos, especially from people with disabilities, which proves to be outright discriminatory towards these people. I believe that TikTok users understand that they are using a public social media platform when they are posting videos, and it is their choice, rather than the choice of the company, to choose to expose themselves to public opinion by posting videos 

As a somewhat frequent TikTok user, I understand the addictiveness and the hype around the new app. I really do. However, there are serious downsides that our generation must be aware of in order to protect ourselves and remain safe and secure on the internet. 

Sours: https://bhsowl.org/2750/uncategorized/the-truth-about-tik-tok/

This Producer's Joyful Bird Beats Are Wowing TikTok

In November 2020, during a contested election and deadly pandemic, a tiny Saw-whet Owl was rescued from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Being very small (and politically unaffiliated), the owl spawned a minor media sensation. Among those entranced was New York-based music producer So Wylie. 

At the time, Wylie didn’t think much about birds in her day-to-day life, but she’d always had a soft spot for owls. She Googled the bird and listened to its rhythmic, musical call. “I was like, this is kind of fire!” she says. “I immediately decided I was going to make a beat with it. I made it that afternoon.” 

She composed a minute-long beat and posted a video of it on TikTok, thinking of it as a fun one-off project. But the online response was so enthusiastic that Wylie has kept at it. Now, her bird beat videos—featuring avian stars such as the Barred Owl,Hermit Thrush, and Common Potoo—have garnered an enthusiastic and growing fan base of birders. 

Wylie works at Spotify’s Gimlet Media as a sound engineer for podcasts such as Dissect and Crime Show, and as a producer for artists like Camille Trust. But she’s also an active composer influenced by producers and artists who mix genres freely, including Timbaland, OutKast, and The Gorillaz. When you get down to it, she says, bird calls are like any other sample: “The first thing I’ll think of is like: What tempo does this suggest? I’ll see if any specific chords or key comes to mind, and I’ll start building [a beat] based on that.”


PART 2: BARRED OWL. I just want the birders to have a good day y’all. What bird call should I do next? ##birding##wildlife##producer##remix

♬ So Wylie Barred Owl Bird Beat - So Wylie

Wylie had stumbled into the art of making music from recorded birdsong. It’s an expansive genre: In 1960, CBS Musical Director Jim Fassett cut together ornithological field recordings to release the experimental and eerie Symphony of the Birds. Wylie’s contemporaries include: British musician Cosmo Shelldrake who has also explored blending recorded bird calls into instrumental compositions in Wake Up Calls, through sly and soothing tracks that use the voices of threatened British birds to follow the passage of time; acoustic ecologist Ben Mirin, who releases under the name “DJ Ecotone" and whose work is funky and intricate, with beatboxing that weaves around the birdsong; and Indian music teacher A. J. Mithra, who composes synthy tracks drawing on the fauna of the subcontinent.

Wylie’s bird beats tend to be smooth, distilled, and catchy—supporting the bird’s vocals without distorting them. But the videos are also compelling in their tangible joy and playfulness. Each begins with Wylie on her couch, playing a bird call. Her face wrinkles in surprise or delight at the sound; shots follow of her composing at her keyboard, and of waveforms of the bird call on audio programs, the call repeating rhythmically over the action. Finally, the beat drops, with clips of the bird intercut with Wylie bopping along to her latest creation. She deliberately structures the videos to evoke the feeling of creative discovery: Part of the fun is seeing how Wylie reacts to the challenge of whatever bird gets thrown at her.  


BIRD BEATS: CANYON WREN. This was the biggest challenge yet, this tiny cutie had me confuuused but we got there 😅 ##remix##producer##birder##wildlife

♬ Bird Beat by So Wylie Canyon Wren - So Wylie

 Many of the birds Wylie has sampled so far have been owls, including the Eastern Screech-Owl, Boreal Owl, and Barn Owl, whose otherworldly hiss proved tricky. She’s also been fielding suggestions from listeners. “The Eastern Whip-poor-will hive is very strong,”  Wylie says, laughing. “Also the Canyon Wren—a lot of people have been very excited about that one. There are so many birds that this could technically keep going forever, so I’m just choosing whichever comes next.” (Edit note: Wylie released the Canyon Wren just the other day. A review from Audubon's #birds Slack channel: "This might be my favorite beat yet.") 

Wylie has been stunned by the reaction to the videos on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram Live. “The birding community was so much more powerful than I had originally realized,” Wylie says. And while she’s been wary about taking up space in an online community she’s still new to, she’s found the feedback touching. “It’s just brought me so much joy on such an otherwise very dark and tough year, and it’s just like something I’ll never forget.” 


BIRD BEATS: COMMON POTOO. I know this is a strange beat but its also a strange bird sooo just matching this energy ##birder##wildlife##remix##producer

♬ Bird Beat by So Wylie Common Potoo - So Wylie

She’s also become more interested in going birding herself, once it’s safer to do so with others. “I’m going to have to creep back into social life, obviously,” she says. “ But I know where to go and who to call if I want to go see some birds now. ”

Wylie is toying with plans to extend her minute-long video bird beats into an album, but that would be a long-term project; there’s also the matter of legally clearing the bird samples she uses, many of which come from institutions like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. But if she does end up selling her work, any proceeds will be donated back into birding organizations, she says. 

“This is not something I ever expected to happen,” Wylie says. “And so all of the positivity that’s been given to me through this, I want to bring that positivity back.”

Update: Watch a bonus track with Audubon's own Dominic Arenas rapping to So Wylie's beat.

Sours: https://www.audubon.org/news/this-producers-joyful-bird-beats-are-wowing-tiktok
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Tick Tock, Tik Tok

 I think I speak for everyone when I say that TikTok is the greatest idea humanity has had since running water. I mean, symmetrical teenagers filming themselves dancing alone in their bedroom–why didn’t I think of that?! It used to be that if we wanted to watch a hot person dance you’d have to dish them out $50 minimum and hope she wasn’t an undercover police officer. Inexplicably though, now there are people who want to take this amazing platform away from us, but why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because of Donald Trump’s son.

If you try to look up his account you won’t find one, but you will find a downright troubling amount of accounts dedicated to hopelessly fawning over this 14-year-old, who has literally only said two minutes worth of anything publicly. The kid wants his privacy, come on people. One of the most followed accounts is called “@cutiebarron0.o”, and features compilation videos of this actual child doing such seductive acts like, waving, squinting, sneezing, and walking down a flight of stairs. The most bizarre thing is that most of the comments seem to have been left by liberals who say such things like “We have to save him” and “Man, I don’t like Trump but he sure knows how to make a jaw-dropping kid”, and these people deserve to have their phones destroyed. If I was Trump and I saw this I would have deleted the whole app yesterday.

Now some might tell you that the reason they want this app deleted is because the Chinese government was using it to steal our data, but this is obviously ridiculous. They’re a country who imprisons people over their religious beliefs, supports North Korea, and builds their own islands on international waters that they don’t own, why wouldn’t we trust them? 

It seems like the fear might come from the idea that maybe China wasn’t taking good care of our data, but I’ll put those fears to rest right now. China isn’t some rinky-dink information firm composed of just some executives and an unpaid intern who has the task of printing out your entire search history and annotating it in the workroom of a community college library. In fact, China’s methods are incredibly sophisticated, because they have spent years perfecting the art of citizen surveillance. For almost a decade they have harvested all of their citizens, phone calls, private messages, purchasing history, online searches, heck they even have cameras lining all their streets with facial recognition scanners so they know wherever citizens go and who they meet. Then, they take all this information and run it through a complicated algorithm that gives every citizen a score based on how good of a person the government thinks they are. See, our data is in good, capable hands, and we have nothing to worry about. 

I sure hope that they have started giving us citizenship scores based on the data they got from TikTok. I hope by the end of this article, mine gets bumped up to 1500 minimum. This system they have is so great because it keeps all those pesky Democracy advocates in Hong Kong in check, as well as makes sure no one has the audacity, gall and insensitivity to point out that Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dead ringer for Winnie the Pooh.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “This is all fine and dandy, but I just sent a really funny video of a man accidentally biting his finger at a hot dog eating contest to all my friends, and I want to make sure someone in the Chinese government also gets to watch this video”, well you’ll be happy to know that they are already on it. See, they took the initiative, to not only track what you were watching on TikTok and document your personal information, but also to ask you for access to your clipboard so they can see everything you copied and pasted while the app was on your phone, even if it didn’t have anything to do with TikTok at all! Isn’t that great? Every time you copied and pasted homework answers from the key you found online, they saw you do that. Every time you copied and sent your friends a link to a video of a Cat dancing to “W.A.P.” they saw that too! Honestly, I’m just glad that someone finally cares about what I’m up to.

I saw that the Chinese Government-owned company that had TikTok sold it off to Oracle and Wal-Mart, two private American based companies, and it kind of ruined my day. For one because that means now those depraved Baron Trump accounts won’t be put out of their misery… oops I mean my misery. I’m also just kind of bummed because while I understand that they’ll still be monitoring and selling our data, it just won’t be the same. I’d just hate to think I worked so hard to gain all those citizenship points for nothing.

Sours: https://owowlpost.com/3320/arts-entertainment/tick-tock-tik-tok/
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