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Meet The ‘Psychic’ Tik Tok Pug Who’s Captured The Attention Of Millions

For Tik Tok users, there’s only one dog that matters: Noodle, the 13-year-old pug who apparently has “psychic” abilities. Every morning, his owner Jonathon Graziano (@jongraz) picks Noodle up from his dog bed. From there, Noodle will either fall or stand up.

If Noodle falls right back into bed, it’s a “no bones” day. According to Graziano, that means you should take the day off, don’t do hard tasks, wear comfortable clothes, and just enjoy a bath – a la, a “self-care” day to help you revitalize.

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If he keeps standing, it’s a “bones” day. That means you’re in for a great day, and Graziano says you should be confident, ready to take risks if need be, and seize the day. Noodle’s cute predictions have since blown up: Graziano’s profile currently has 2.6 million followers and 23.2 million likes, and a number of Noodle’s videos have combined for over 50 million views. #NoBones also has 258.1 million views.

In one of his videos, Graziano explained that Noodle was adopted when he was seven and a half-years-old and they learned early that when Noodle doesn’t want to go on a walk, he won’t go on a walk – probably something all dog owners have related to at one point or another.

Graziano has also made sure not to “force” a bones prediction. If Noodle, who Graziano refers to as his “sweet king,” won’t wake up, his owner won’t disturb him. Rather, it’s just a no bones day and the pug can enjoy his deep slumber.

“I love this thing but… no TikTok video is more important than Noodle’s wellbeing. None of it,” Graziano told Insider, assuring that the dog calls the shots when it comes to the video.

Appearing on the TODAY show, Graziano (with Noodle in tow) talked about how unbelievable it was that such a funny little daily event could have impacted so many on the popular app while spreading tons of positivity in the process.

“Noodle has brought joy to so many people online. I can’t believe it,” Graziano said. “This ‘no bones’ video is something that I would just do as a silly little ritual for us in the morning to check in and see how he was doing. And then it took off.”

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For the doubters out there, Noodle’s magic apparently works. “A woman the other day said it was a ‘bones day,’ so she bought a lotto ticket and won half a million dollars,” Graziano claimed, also citing actions such as proposals and down payments on bones days.

Tik Tok is known for its ability to thrust people into the spotlight due to impressive (or somewhat ordinary) talents. Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Zach King are just a few of the many names that have hit the spotlight up since the app saw its usage soar amongst young teens.

Of course, Tik Tok doesn’t always have warm-hearted moments like this. The app received plenty of negative attention last month when the “devious lick” – a trend where teens vandalize and steal school property – emerged.

In a world where many are feeling stressed from current events, pandemics, and challenges, it’s nice to see how much joy and excitement a pug, who may or may not have psychic powers, can bring. Hopefully we experience nothing but bones days from now on.

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US Looking Into Banning Tik Tok And Other Social Media Apps From China

The United States is looking to potentially ban certain social media apps that come from China in an attempt to increase security access between the two countries. The main app that’s in question is Tik Tok, and according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the administration is taking this matter “very seriously.” 

Tik Tok alone has become one of the most popular social media apps on the internet currently. The free platform allows users to make videos that are up to a minute long and edit them with intricate filters, sound effects, music, graphics, and more. The feed algorithm on the app allows users timelines to be filled with content Tik Tok thinks you’ll like based on other posts you’ve liked and who you follow. 

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This specific algorithm is one of the reasons that Tik Tok has grown so much in popularity within the past year, as users can have any sort of interest and likely find a hashtag/page geared towards it. However, Pompeo made it clear in an interview with Fox News that Tik Tok was the administration’s number one priority in terms of platforms to potentially ban. 

Pompeo also went onto state that smartphone users should only download the app if “you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” however, a spokesperson working for Tik Tok in America was quick to refute these claims that the app gives personal information to the Chinese government. 

“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”‘

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The United States and China have been experiencing major tensions within the past few years in general. These recent remarks from Pompeo are likely a direct result of that as well. National security, trade, and technology was at the center of all tensions between the two nation’s governments, and once Covid-19 became an issue that stemmed from a market in China, the pressure began to boil over. 

Tik Tok is in fact owned by a Beijing-based startup company known as ByteDance, and has been often criticized by the US government for being a potential threat to national security due to its ties to China. Once again, the administration has been quoted multiple times alleging that the company “could be compelled to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” despite there being no evidence to prove that. 

Tik Tok has made statements in the past regarding security and claims that the company operates through data centers located outside of China, so none of the data is subject to Chinese law. Data for US users specifically is stored in the US with backups in Singapore, according to the company. This past May an executive spokesperson claimed that “the national security concerns are unfounded.”

India’s government has also claimed they would ban Tik Tok and other Chinese apps due to a posed “threat to sovereignty and integrity,” which also likely fueled the US to follow suit. With over 40 million American users, however, it’s likely the app won’t be going anywhere without a good fight from social media users across the country.

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TikTok’s Censorship Issues

TikTok has fast become one of the quickest growing social networks. However, the Chinese platform has recently come under fire following leaked documents revealing censored videos. Sources claim that videos showing people with disabilities, homosexuals or overweight people were hidden from view in a move to “protect vulnerable users.” Thanks to a strange policy, moderators were encouraged to limit the reach of some users, placing them on a ‘special users’ list, with the concern that they would be more vulnerable to bullying and internet trolls.

Website netzpolitik.org obtained documents that highlighted TikTok’s guidelines and spoke with a reliable source. In the documents, ByteDance, the Beijing-based technology company who owns TikTok, details how to deal with bullying with dubious methods of controlling it. In their moderation rules is a section called “Imagery depicting a subject highly vulnerable to cyber bullying” and discusses users who are “susceptible to harassment or cyberbullying based on their physical or mental condition.”

TikTok moderators are encouraged to mark accounts of people who have disabilities as ‘Risk 4’, meaning the video will only be available in the country the user uploaded it, resulting in some accounts only having a reach of around 5.5 million people — depending on their country’s user numbers — rather than their global audience, which is nearer to one billion people.

There were further restrictions for accounts where the owners were deemed extremely vulnerable. If the videos exceeded 6,000 to 10,000 views they were automatically tagged as “Auto R,” meaning if they exceeded these numbers they would automatically be placed in the ‘not recommended’ category.

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This means the algorithms will not allow the video to appear in the For You Feed that is shown when you first open the app.

Although many users may not acknowledge their disability, TikTok’s guidelines state that moderators need to look for “autism,” “Down syndrome,” and “facial disfigurements.” If a moderator deems that someone in the video has these characteristics the video is restricted. Each moderator has around 30 seconds to make these decisions.

Many are asking how someone can acknowledge somebody has any of the disorders within such a short time and the moderators appear to be as confused as everyone else. It seems that even with worldwide debates looking at the visibility of disabled people in the media, while many are asking for a barrier-free internet and open visibility, TikTok is going out of its way to block such users.

AbilityWatch’s Constantin Grosch thinks the policy is “overriding and exclusionary,” saying:

“The regulation listed here transforms this behavior into new digital platforms in which the visibility of disabled people is deliberately reduced out of misunderstood and unnecessary care.”

A growing online bullying issue is ghosting — a practice of deliberately and suddenly stopping all communication with another to end a relationship with them — which makes the TikTok policy even more shocking. Rather than tackling online bullying, including ghosting and internet trolls, it appears TikTok would rather restrict the victims.

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One source familiar with the moderating rules reported that staff repeatedly pointed out the problems of this policy and asked for a more sensitive and meaningful one. In November, The Washington Post had already reported on clashes between America’s employees and the rule makers in China, with many U.S. employees unhappy they had to restrict further videos including heated debates, heavy kissing, and political discussions.

While TikTok states that the U.S. operation is not required to carry out censorship, employees have stated that the final decisions on videos being restricted are made in Beijing. The potential influence Beijing could have in America has seen the Committee on Foreign Investment investigate the deals that ByteDance has had, especially in relation to Musical.ly, with many legal experts asking U.S. officials to investigate “a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”

Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s General Manager in America commented:

“TikTok has grown quickly, much like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat grew during their early years. And like those platforms, growth has posed challenges in terms of making sure our policies and practices keep up.”

One of the main concerns with TikTok is its lack of transparency on policies with no details being released about moderating decisions until recently. However, recent pressures have encouraged them to distance themselves from accusations that the app’s content is moderated by the Chinese government — something the Hong Kong protestors have claimed after some of their videos were censored.

ByteDance purchased Musical.ly in 2017 and promptly incorporated it into their own TikTok company, resulting in many young Americans uploading stunts, dances and stories in the millions, enabling TikTok to increase in value to around $75 billion, more than Snapchat and Uber combined. ByteDance is owned by one of China’s richest businessmen, Zhang Yimin.

There are now a reported one billion users worldwide meaning TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in history. But will their censorship issues be their downfall?