business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Axios reports that Brendan Carr, one of five commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has gone on the record as believing that "the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) should take action to ban TikTok" in the US."

According to the story, "It's the strongest language Carr has used to date to urge action on TikTok. With more than 200 million downloads in the U.S. alone, the popular app is becoming a form of critical information infrastructure — making the app's ownership by a Chinese parent company a target of growing national security concern.

"The FCC has no authority to regulate TikTok directly, but Congress previously acted after Carr voiced concerns about Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei … TikTok is currently in negotiations with CFIUS, an interagency committee that conducts national security reviews of foreign companies' deals, to determine whether it can be divested by Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company and remain operational in the United States."

The story notes that "a series of recent reports have challenged TikTok's claims that U.S. user data is secure because it is stored outside of China and that the company does not comply with Chinese government content moderation requirements."

I think there a lot of reasons for the US to be concerned about Chinese ownership of TikTok.  The discussion has to be about national security, not politics, but it has to take place.

•  The New York Times has a story about how advertisers are nervous about Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter, which isn't a good thing, since ads provide about 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue.

According to the story, "the billionaire, who is meeting advertising executives in New York this week, has spooked some advertisers because he has said he would loosen Twitter’s content rules, which could lead to a surge in misinformation and other toxic content.

"IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, issued a recommendation on Monday through its media agencies for clients to temporarily pause their spending on Twitter because of moderation concerns, three people with knowledge of the communication said. The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, a coalition of platforms, advertisers and industry groups that is fighting harmful content on social media, also said this week that it was monitoring how Twitter planned to deal with content moderation.

"Twitter has been in disarray as it adjusts to a new reality under Mr. Musk, who closed his $44 billion buyout of the company last week. Mr. Musk immediately fired Twitter’s chief executive, its chief financial officer and others before moving quickly to install close confidants and trusted engineers from his other companies at the social media firm.

"Since then, Mr. Musk and his advisers have been working on product changes and major cuts to Twitter’s rank and file. Managers at Twitter, which has about 7,500 employees, have said they are finishing up lists of high- and low-performing workers, most likely with an eye toward layoffs. While several employees have already been let go, the timing and scope of mass layoffs remain fluid."

Twitter is going to be a real s-show under Musk.  No question in my mind.  He may be brilliant, but he's also a lunatic with a warped sense of responsibility and an apparent willingness to use social media to spread misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies.