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The US is currently pushing to ban the social media behemoth TikTok from its shores. It comes as the Chinese-owned app was accused of harvesting user data and lacking transparency in its actions. Controversy is all the more salient as the US readies for a presidential election this November.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that some of the Asian nation’s technology companies were “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party”.
US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has given TikTok until September 15 to find a US-based owner or face being suspended from one of its biggest markets.
The President’s wife Melania Trump, is known for her opposition to social media.
As part of her ‘Be Best’ initiative, the FLOTUS campaigns for better well-being for America’s youth and advocates against cyberbullying.
She made clear her opposition to the baggage that comes with social media during a CNN interview ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
She explained: “My passion is helping children and helping women.
“And also I now see in the 21st century the problem of social media.
“It’s very damaging for children.
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“We need to guide them and teach them about social media because I see a lot of negativity on it and we need to help them.
“It has some positive effects as well because this is the world that we now live in – but has equally as much negativity.
“I see more and more children being hurt by it.
“There’s a lot of bullying that goes on online, I stopped social media a year and a half ago for myself.
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“I post some of the stuff but I’m not posting all the time – I’m not an attention seeker, my life is not a photo app.
“I decided not to be on social media anymore because I see the negativity and really, it’s not healthy.”
Microsoft is currently in the running to become TikTok’s US owner.
CEO Satya Nadella is currently free from the headaches his competitors have in regards to social media platforms, as Microsoft does not own any video-based social media.
The BBC’s James Clayton explained that should Mr Nadella decide to secure TikTok as an additional asset, the company will be “buying a platform with a lot of politics on it”, which could later on prove detrimental.
Meanwhile, in a bid to curb fears over Chinese data extraction and win over Europe, TikTok has announced it plans to build a $500m (£375m) data centre in Ireland.
It would see all videos, messages and other data generated by European users stored in Ireland as opposed to its headquarters in Beijing or elsewhere in Asia.
Melania’s fears over social media usage are all the more enhanced by her teenage son, 14-year-old Barron Trump, who is just within the target age of TikTok’s user base.
Earlier on in the CNN interview, she talked about the difficulties of balancing a regular life with being the son of the President.
She explained: “I let him have as normal a childhood as possible and we talk a lot, a lot about the campaign; we talk about the language because I don’t allow him to use bad language.
“He’s at that age with his friends that they say bad words, but it’s normal, they’re growing up, but I tell him there are consequences, and he needs to be careful with the language he uses.
“I teach him and tell him – that’s why it was my decision not to be on the campaign trail; I don’t listen to anybody about what to do, what to say, when to say it.
“If it was for my husband or the campaign, they would have me on the trail all the time, they wish they could have me!
“But I made the decision that I would be the parent to our boy, our child.”
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