CBS News has declared that it will cease posting on Twitter because of "uncertainty" under the new leadership of Elon Musk. However, CBS News continues to operate an account on TikTok – which the U.S. government has warned is a Chinese surveillance tool.
"CBS Evening News" ran a piece on Friday night titled: "Twitter Turmoil." The segment began with anchor Major Garrett saying – without evidence – that Musk is "scrambling, quite simply, to prevent the social media platform from collapsing."
CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti claimed that Musk offered "little reassurance he has a permanent plan" for the future of Twitter because the Tesla CEO asked users of the social media platform what Twitter should do next. On multiple occasions since acquiring Twitter, Musk has asked Twitter users how the social media platform could be better going forward.
Vigliotti interviewed one former Twitter employee who worked at the company until Musk acquired the company. Coincidentally, the former disgruntled employee is a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against Twitter. The former employee claimed that Twitter under Musk was "definitely a culture of fear and uncertainty, of anxiety."
Justine De Caires worked at Twitter while Musk was the CEO for only a few days. Musk completed the acquisition of Twitter on Oct. 27, then quickly laid-off employees. Justine De Caires was one of five former Twitter employees who were immediately fired and swiftly filed a lawsuit on Nov. 4. The lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court claims that Twitter violated the federal and California laws of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). The law requires employers to provide at least 60 days' notice before "plant closings" or "mass layoffs."
Vigliotti then announced that CBS News would quit posting on Twitter because of "uncertainty" on the social media platform.
"In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform," Vigliotti said.
At 9:40 p.m. on Friday, the CBS-owned news station KPIX in San Francisco shared a near-identical message on Twitter.
"In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News Bay Area is pausing its activity on the social media site as we continue to monitor the platform," the news network tweeted.
At the time of publication, the official CBS News Twitter account with nearly 9 million followers has not posted on Musk's social media platform since Friday. The same goes for the CBS Twitter account with over 1 million followers, "CBS Mornings" Twitter account with nearly 500,000 followers, the "CBS Evening News" account with nearly 400,000 followers, and "CBS Sunday Morning" with over 260,000 followers.
CBS affiliates in Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York have not posted in nearly 24 hours.
The official CBS News Radio Twitter account continues to tweet.
However, CBS News continues to maintain an account on TikTok – which has often been described as possible Chinese spyware.
On Tuesday, FBI Director Chris Wray warned of "the possibility that the Chinese government could use [TikTok] to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations."
Wray also sounded the alarms that China's TikTok app could "control software on millions of devices," which would present an opportunity to "technically compromise" millions of smartphones in the United States.
In October, Forbes reported that TikTok was planning to utilize location data collected on the app to track and monitor some American citizens.
A report by Forbes released in August found that "three hundred current employees at TikTok and its parent company ByteDance previously worked for Chinese state media publications." The report said that 15 employees worked simultaneously at ByteDance and Chinese state media.
In June, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr urged Apple and Google to remove the TikTok app from their online stores. Carr stated, "At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data."
In December 2019, the Defense Department said TikTok has "potential security risks associated with its use."
CBS News has done extensive coverage of the potential security dangers of TikTok.
In November 2020, CBS News interviewed Klon Kitchen – who previously worked on cyber strategy at the National Counterterrorism Center, as a senior program assessment officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, and as the lead analyst on al Qaeda senior leadership at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Klon told CBS News, "What makes TikTok particularly concerning is its relationship with the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, the government of China. The Chinese have fused their government and their industry together so that they cooperate to achieve the ends of the state."
Klon informed the outlet that TikTok uses phones to collect "your name, your home address, your personal network, who you're friends with, your online viewing habits," and keystroke data.
CBS News published another piece titled: "How TikTok could be used for disinformation and espionage."
In 2019, CBS News ran an article with the headline: "Senators say TikTok should be investigated by U.S. intelligence for potential 'national security risks.'"
You can watch the entire CBS News segment regarding Twitter below.
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