Mercedes-Benz plans to integrate China’s TikTok into the dashboards of certain models, drawing the ire of people who consider the Chinese-owned social media app nothing more than a surveillance tool.
The Washington Post reports that TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, has been making headlines recently after U.S. lawmakers began strictly enforcing restrictions on the app’s use. Some have begun advocating for the app to be banned entirely in response to growing worries about the threats it poses to national security. But even as TikTok looks to broaden its appeal to new demographics, conservatives and others that care about national security and the mental health of teenagers are working to ban the app from this country entirely.
Despite controversy over the Chinese app, companies are eager to collaborate with the platform, including Mercedes-Benz. The new E-class sedan from the German automaker, which will enable users to download third-party apps directly to the center display, such as TikTok, Zoom, and the game “Angry Birds,” was recently unveiled. Through the partnership, passengers will have access to mobile apps on a separate screen that will be hidden from the driver while the car is moving.
The partnership is part of a larger initiative by Mercedes to improve the driving experience for its customers and to remain competitive in a sector that is becoming more and more dominated by technological innovation. The company is looking to adopt new technologies that can make driving more pleasurable and engaging as it aims to broaden its reach to new demographics. The collaboration allows TikTok to connect with new users and keep working to grow beyond its current user base.
However, there are national security concerns with any collaboration involving TikTok, especially in light of recent legislative actions in the United States. Congress approved a ban on the app for federal government devices in December, and about two dozen states followed suit. Critics claim that the app could be used to spread propaganda and other types of false information and that it threatens the privacy of American users.
Mercedes views the partnership as a way to embrace new technologies that can make driving more engaging and enjoyable while staying ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing sector. It presents TikTok with a chance to reach new users and further its efforts to appeal to older demographics — and perhaps the ability to spy on westerners in a new way.
Read more at the Washington Post here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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