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Parents Are Suing TikTok for Allegedly Sending Their Kids’ Stolen Data to China

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More than 20 plaintiffs, many of whom are underaged and therefore represented by their legal guardians, are listed in a new class-action lawsuit against TikTok, which is owned by a Beijing-based tech company called ByteDance. NPR, who was first to report on the class-action, pointed out that this is the merging of multiple “separate but similar” federal lawsuits that were filed over the past year.

These American families believe that the executives behind TikTok equipped the app with China-based surveillance software that is unknown to its users — and transfers “vast quantities” of private data and content to Chinese servers. Furthermore, they believe that gives the accessors of said data the ability to “identify, profile, and track the physical and digital location and activities” of U.S. users.

The plaintiffs specifically call attention to private draft videos — or early versions of posts that were never published or saved — claiming that the app has also “surreptitiously taken” these clips without notice or consent. They further argue that by secretly obtaining this data and information, TikTok unfairly profits from them by attracting more consumers through targeted advertising and/or increasing consumer demand with improvements to the app technology.

Last year — as accusations had begun to generate noise  — TikTok consultants shared that they found “no indication that the Chinese government accessed TikTok users’ data” in their review of TikTok’s computer code between July and October of 2019. The app then issued a public statement, saying: “We store all TikTok U.S. user data in the United States, with backup redundancy in Singapore. Our data centers are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law.”

However, the plaintiffs in the 2020 class-action suit argue that TikTok’s public statement was “carefully couched in the present tense and studiously avoids mentions of past practices.” They point out that TikTok never said that data was not transferred to China — only that it was not stored in China.

The plaintiffs also cite TikTok’s 2019 Privacy Policy, which is publicly accessible — but the plaintiffs opine that it is “not viewed by users in the ordinary sense” and that its phrasings are misleading and subject to change. According to the complaint, that policy did say “we may share your information with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which could include ByteDance.

ByteDance is a company that uses artificial intelligence “powered by algorithms that ‘learn’ each user’s interests and preferences through repeat interaction,” the complaint points out before mentioning that ByteDance has looked to grow in overseas markets — including the U.S. — in recent years. ByteDance arguably mimicked American app Musical.ly, which laid the groundwork for today’s TikTok, when it launched its own app called Douyin in 2016. ByteDance eventually bought Musical.ly in 2017 — but only after introducing an English language version of the Douyin app under the name TikTok.

A representative from TikTok did not immediately reply when Rolling Stone reached out for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the complaint documents, the plaintiffs are requesting, among a lengthy list of possible resolutions, that TikTok be urged to refrain from transmitting user data and content to China, as well as any other locations or facilities that China could access. They say draft videos, for one, should not be accessed by anyone but the user without advance notice and written consent. They also believe that TikTok shouldn’t be able to take “physical/digital location tracking data, device ID data, [and] personally identifiable data.” The latter seems particularly unlikely, considering what’s required to run a social media-centric app.

Because of what’s written in TikTok’s Privacy Policy — the fine print, which informs users that TikTok reserves the right to share their information — the plaintiffs might not have a case at all. However, the allegations raised in this lawsuit are similar to the national security claims Trump made when he said he wanted to ban the app.

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Max Ehrich: I Learned Demi Lovato Dumped Me From the Internet!

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Max Ehrich insists he has no hard feelings.


But the young actor also insists he wsa done wrong by Demi Lovato.


As you likely know by now, Ehrich got engaged to Lovato on July 22, as the pair shared photos of the beach-based engagement and gushed about each other on social media.


They seemed meant to be.


Fewer than two months later, however, multiple outlets confirmed that Lovato and Ehrich were over, with sources citing two key reasons for the split:


  1. Lovato and Ehrich’s work schedules kept them apart.

  2. Ehrich was more focused on leveraging his relationship for fame than he was in actually loving Demi for the amazing woman she is.


We may never know the exact reason behind the break-up.

Max Ehrich and Lovato


But we do know the couple has broken up because Ehrich has come out and talked about it.


On his Instagram Stories Account, Ehrich claimed this week that Lovato was the one who ended the pair’s romance — and that she did not do it to his face.


Or even to his phone via text message.


“I was on the set of my new movie, Southern Gospel, with crew and cast members right next to me who literally watched me open my phone where I then opened a tabloid,” the 29-year-old actor wrote online this weekend.

Max Ehrich and Demi Lovato Throwback


Indeed, Ehrich swears this is how it all went down.


He swears he discovered that he was single by reading it first on a website.


“This is the God’s honest truth of how I found out about the ending of the engagement,” he continued.


“And have people from my film who saw the whole thing go down and helped me get back into character to continue my job.”

max statement


We’ve been enormous fans of Demi Lovato’s for years.


We’ve always admired how open she’s been about her mental health and addiction struggles and we continue to wish her the best.


But if this really transpired? If she really was unable tell her fiance that they were no longer together and Max discovered the news just like we did, by firing up the World Wide Web?


Not cool, Demi.

Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich on the Gram


“I had cast and crew with families relying on me to do my job,” Ehrich continued.


“That being said, please end this narrative and focus on more important issues in the world. I love and forgive everyone involved. Let us be. Let us heal. God bless.”


Just a day earlier, Max alleged he found out about his breakup from the media.


“Imagine finding out to [sic] the status of your relationship through a tabloid,” he wrote on Instagram Stories on Saturday, September26.


“While your [sic] in the middle of filming a biopic movie about a Pastor in a Christian Church whose intention of the film is to help people.”

Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich Picture


At the time of their reported breakup late last week, Lovato and Ehrich was already literally apart, with the former in Los Angeles and the latter filming his movie in Atlanta.


According to a People Magazine source, though, Ehrich is lying.


“Demi made Max aware that the relationship was over and it was going to come out in the press,” this publication reported on Saturday, using some rather careful language.


This makes it sound like, yes, perhaps Demi spoke to Max about their split before he read about it online — but it also makes it sound like Lovato talked to the press about it first.

Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich Together


Lovato, for her part, has only shared a couple photos since the end of her engagement.


Did she shade her ex by doing so? Some believe so.


Whatever happened between the stars, however, each is clearly moving on now.


“They were arguing a lot. There has been a lot of tension and Demi left him to get a clear head,” an insider told E! News a few days ago.


“She didn’t know who Max truly was and didn’t think he had good intentions. There were many red flags she was ignoring and trying to turn a blind eye to.”

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Watch Angel Olsen Cover “I’ll Be Seeing You,” Perform Take Away Show

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Last month, Angel Olsen released Whole New Mess, her companion album to last year’s All Mirrors, and she’s been keeping busy during lockdown. Over on Instagram, she’s gotten in the habit of performing some stripped-down covers of songs by artists like George Harrison, Roxy Music, and Tori Amos.

Today, she posted a quick snippet of her singing “I’ll Be Seeing You,” the 1938 track that’s been covered by Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Mildred Bailey, and many more over the years. “Working on some covers, some expected, some not,” Olsen captioned the post. “This one’s been close to the heart lately.” Could we be so lucky as to get a whole album of Olsen covers at some point? Seems like maybe!

Here’s her doing “I’ll Be Seeing You”:

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Working on some covers, some expected, some not. This one’s been close to the heart lately. “I’ll be seeing you” Original music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal. Published in 1938, it was inserted into the Broadway musical Right This Way, which closed after fifteen performances. Later made famous by Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and my favorite jazz/ swing/ blues singer Mildred Bailey. – -Speaking of which, if you’re unfamiliar check out some of Mildred Bailey’s work. From Wikipedia: “Mildred Bailey (born Mildred Rinker; February 27, 1907 – December 12, 1951) was a Native American jazz singer[2] during the 1930s, known as “The Queen of Swing”, “The Rockin’ Chair Lady” and “Mrs. Swing”. Some of her best-known hits are “For Sentimental Reasons”, “It’s So Peaceful in the Country”, “Doin’ The Uptown Lowdown”, “Trust in Me”, “Where Are You?”, “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart”, “Small Fry”, “Please Be Kind”, “Darn That Dream”, “Rockin’ Chair”, “Blame It on My Last Affair”, and “Says My Heart”. She had three singles that made number one on the popular charts.[3]”

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In other recent Angel Olsen content, La Blogotheque recently shared one of their Take Away performances featuring Olsen, which was recorded in February before a show in Paris. She did “Waving, Smiling” from Whole New Mess. Watch that below.

Whole New Mess is out now via Jagjaguwar. Read our recent Cover Story on Olsen here.

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Golden Globes 2020: Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Best Actor’ acceptance speech has fans asking — ‘Is he drunk or just rambling?’

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Joaquin Phoenix received a standing ovation for his win in Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama — ‘Joker’. Although his speech called for climate change awareness, fans couldn’t help but notice that he sounded a little drunk.

“Joaquin Phoenix’s was like the drunken guy at a wedding who tries to make a speech after the best man gets done with his. #goldenglobes2020,” tweeted a fan. Many hilarious tweets took Twitter by storm during the actor’s speech. “Happy Joaquin Phoenix won but, man, I had to google his age. He looks and sounds like my 75 yo drunk neighbor. #GoldenGlobes,” tweeted another.

A lot of people took to the wedding speech reference, with a user tweeting, “Ya know when the MOH at a wedding reception is super drunk & gives her speech and it’s awkward & uncomfortable and everyone wants to disappear? That’s what it’s like listening to Joaquin Phoenix followed by Renee Zellweger. #goldenglobes.”

Adding into the thread, “Oh, so it’s fine for Joaquin Phoenix to get drunk as a boiled owl on live TV and talk nonsense, but when I do it at my estranged wife’s second wedding *I’m* the bad guy” tweeted another user.

Some, of course, didn’t mind the otherwise quiet actor’s slurry speech. “I’ve never wanted Joaquin Phoenix more than tonight. The bloated/drunk/weird thing was seriously hot. #GoldenGlobes,” tweeted a fan. Others took a more serious approach, deeming the awkward speech as a mental health anxiety ride. “We truly need to destroy this negative stigma and bring awareness about mental illness. Joaquin Phoenix’s acceptance speech was not him on drugs or drunk just a clear example of someone who suffers with anxiety,” tweeted a user.

We don’t know if he was drunk or nervous, but either way, Phoenix deserved the win. “Joaquin Phoenix may be drunk but he is made of brass balls. #goldenglobes2020,” tweeted a fan.

If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515

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