During an interview on CNN’s “Axe Files” podcast released on Thursday, Jen Easterly, the Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) pointed to the differences in TikTok’s American and Chinese versions and said she thinks the app “is part of a long-range strategy of, sadly, dumbing down the next generation and we are falling for it.”
Easterly said, [relevant remarks begin around 56:00] “[F]rom an election perspective, I very much worry about the use of these types of tools for foreign influence and disinformation. We have a big election coming up next year, as you know. So, I think that is a significant concern. And if you look at how TikTok is used in China, Tristan Harris from the Center [for] Humane Technology has written about this ‘spinach TikTok’ where they’re limited — their kids are limited to a certain amount of time per day. They’re seeing museums and Nobel Prize winners. And our kids are seeing cat videos. So, I don’t have anything against cat videos, they’re probably amusing, but, at the end of the day, I think this is part of a long-range strategy of, sadly, dumbing down the next generation and we are falling for it.”
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