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U.S. FCC Commissioner Requests Google & Apple To Ban TikTok

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U.S. FCC Commissioner Requests Google & Apple To Ban TikTok

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FTC) commissioner accused TikTok of harvesting user data and called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores.

China Access To User Data

Brendan Carr, the commissioner of the FTC, cited a BuzzFeed News report that China had total access to user data.

Leaked audio from TikTok internal meetings indicated that China could access all user data from September 2021 to January 2022.

The timing is important because TikTok executives testified in October 2021 that a U.S. security team decides who has access.

It was against that backdrop that Mr. Carr sent a letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, requesting that they take action to remove TikTok from their respective app stores.

The letter stated that TikTok is out of compliance with Apple and Google’s terms and policies.

The commissioner wrote:

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“Last week, an alarming new report shed fresh light on the serious national security threats posed by TikTok.

…TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance – an organization that is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by Chinese law to comply with the PRC’s surveillance demands.

It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data.

…Therefore, I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms.”

Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement requires that products made available through the Google Play app store protect user privacy.

The FCC commissioner tweeted:

“TikTok is not just another video app.

That’s the sheep’s clothing.

It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.

I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”

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He also tweeted:

“Tiktok’s pattern of misrepresentations coupled with its ownership by an entity beholden to the CCP has resulted in U.S. military branches and national security agencies banning it from government devices.

Bipartisan leaders in both the Senate and House have flagged concerns.”

TikTok Still Available

TikTok remained available at both Apple and Google’s app stores, despite the news reports about China’s ability to access sensitive user data from TikTok and the FCC commissioner’s call for TikTok to be removed from Google’s app store.


Featured Image: Dima Cantemir Ph/Shutterstock

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WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 Offers Greater Editing Flexibility

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WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 Offers Greater Editing Flexibility

WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 is here, unpacking further incremental improvements to the Gutenberg block editor.

Some of the improvements are relatively trivial additions, like adding a WhatsApp icon to the Social Icon Block.

But others are more important because they give template designers the ability to provide more design options for their users.

Chief among these is a new feature that makes it easier to see template parts and to insert them from the block inserter.

This option is aimed at template designers who can now make it easier for users to choose variations.

According to WordPress:

“Gutenberg 13.8 introduces improvements for those who leverage variations and patterns to provide flexibility for their users.

The specific template part variations are now available in the block inserter, making it easy to add “Header”, “Footer,” or “Newsletter Subscription” template parts to your site.”

New Template Search Component

Another useful update is the addition of search functionality that makes it easier to locate and use specific template parts.

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The functionality is described as:

“Adds a new search functionality to the template parts replacement modal.

…It makes it easier to find specific template parts.”

Border Block Support for Color, Width, and Style

The Image block now supports the full range of border controls, including Color, Style, and Width.

Testing of the new feature went well, with one contributor commenting:

“Great work getting this to the finish line @aaronrobertshaw! Tested with a few different block and classic themes, and all working nicely

Crop tools are working nicely in the editor with and without a custom border

Custom border color is working nicely in the editor and site editor

Image border in global styles works well”

Video of New Border Block Control

Improvements to Accessibility

Gutenberg 13.8 ships with cumulative improvements to accessibility.

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Fixes included adding tooltips and fixing a mismatch between the visible text and the aria-label of the Toggle block inserter button.

These are some of the improvements:

  • BorderControl: Update labelling, tooltips and wrap with fieldset and legend.
  • Add aria-hidden to query pagination arrows.
  • Fix labelling and semantics of the paragraph block Left to right control.
  • Fix mismatching label and visible text on the Toggle block inserter button.
  • Fix the description text of block movers for horizontal movement.
  • Replace clickable div elements with buttons in the Add template modal.

Improvements to the Code

One improvement that’ll be welcome to SEOs is the removal of React fragments from the Block Library.

It’s not a dramatic improvement. But changes in the right direction are always welcome when it comes to code size, even something as small as this.

Incremental Change Continues

WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 continues to evolve with incremental improvements, which is the hallmark of most updates to WordPress and the Gutenberg full site editor.

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Read the Official WordPress Announcement

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.8?

Screenshots and Featured Image Screenshot by Author

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