I'll be the first to admit I do not fall in the primary target demographic of most TikTok users. I'm a Gen X'er, who remembers dial-up internet, MySpace, and Yahoo Mail. When Facebook was introduced to the world, I was skeptical but signed up just for grins. I remember thinking, "why would anyone care what I'm doing?", as I posted my first, "Michael is __________". Remember that original format? Good times.

Of course, we all know how social media platforms have become some of the largest tech companies in the world. Facebook Meta is worth around $440 billion. TikTok's value is a little more difficult to determine, as it remains a privately owned company, but it's in the billions as well. Lots of billions. So, there's that.

Rob Hampson via Unsplash
Rob Hampson via Unsplash
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I tried TikTok, briefly.

Six or eight months ago, I decided to download TikTok to see what it was all about. "Everybody is on TikTok!", "OMG, did you see ____ on TikTok?!" My kid told me about all the cool food recipes he saw on TikTok. Hot tabloid gossip was on TikTok. Everybody just has to have it, right? I awkwardly navigated the platform and honestly, I didn't really get it. Most of what I found on the app was ridiculous dances and fake-lipped, fake-boobed "influencers." Yawn.

Deleted a week later.

No joke, it wasn't but a week after I downloaded the app when a read a news story about how TikTok could be feeding mountains of data to the Chinese. I deleted the app that day. Yes, I realize that if I have a smartphone or a computer, companies already know everything about me. Digital footprints are pretty hard to hide. But why make it easier? Beijing-owned TikTok's privacy policy allows third-party use of your info, and how they choose to share it is murky, at best.

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A bill to completely ban TikTok in Montana is moving thru the legislature.

Senate Bill 419, sponsored by Senator Shelly Vance (R, Belgrade) passed the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs Committee on Monday (2/27) by a seven to three vote following testimony from Montana Department of Justice representatives. The bill would completely ban TikTok in Montana. According to a press release from Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen,

SB 419 would prohibit the operation of TikTok in Montana by the company and users, internet service providers from offering TikTok, and mobile application stores from providing the option to download the application. Internet service providers and companies that violate the ban would face a $10,000 fine per day for each violation.

I'm personally not a fan of the app. I won't let my younger kids have it on their devices. That's my choice, of course. How do you feel about TikTok? Should it be banned? Shoot me an email at Michael@BillingsMix.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Cold Cases in Yellowstone County You Can Help Solve

The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit is dedicated to finding any information that can bring killers to justice for cold cases dating back to 1973. Here are the open cold cases in Yellowstone County as of the beginning of 2022. Each photo links to a YouTube video with more details regarding the case.