The Chicago Journal

TikTok a security concern according to FBI

TikTok: FBI Director Chris Wray has warned people about the popular short video-sharing app and national security concerns.

Wray reminded people that TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, is run by a government that doesn’t share the same values as the United States.

The news

On Friday, Chris Wray raised nationwide concerns about the app.

He revealed that the FBI is concerned with the Chinese control of the app’s recommendation algorithm.

Having control allows the Chinese to manipulate the content and use it to influence operations.

Additionally, Wray says China may use TikTok to harvest user data for traditional espionage operations.


Chris Wray’s warning came at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan last week.

“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States,” Wray told audiences.

“That should concern us.”

Moreover, the concerns expressed by the FBI director are similar to those raised during his congressional appearances in November.

Finally, Wray shared that it is part of an ongoing conversation in Washington.

Read also: TikTok one of the few tech companies to continue hiring


The Trump administration previously threatened to ban TikTok in 2020 due to concerns about China’s influence.

Additionally, the administration pressured ByteDance to sell the app to a company in the United States.

Finally, US officials and TikTok are in talks for a deal to resolve the US security woes.

According to Wray, the process is taking place across US government agencies.


Brooke Overwetter, a TikTok spokeswoman, released a statement via email saying:

“As Director Wray has previously said, the FBI’s input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations with the US Government.”

“While we can’t comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions, we are confident that we are on a path to fully satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns and have already made significant strides toward implementing those solutions.”

Read also: Billy McFarland creates another “big” music festival

The company

Beijing-based ByteDance owns TikTok.

The statement from Friday said it was a private company.

It is also a reminder that TikTok is an American company bound by American laws.

During a Senate hearing in September, TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas answered questions from both sides.

She concluded that the company protects all US user data, noting that Chinese government officials do not have access to it.

“We will never share data, period,” said Pappas.


FBI director raises national concerns about TikTok

Cannabis shops to open in New York with challenges

Cannabis: New York’s cannabis industry has yet to thrive, but social justice critics say the rollout is unlikely to be successful.

A group campaigning for the first licensed sellers of marijuana shops claim they are set up for failure.

The news

The Cannabis Social Equity Coalition revealed that the first sellers must buy products of “questionable quality and safety” from hemp growers in New York.

Moreover, they argue that the sellers are not trained for the market and risk a mountain of debt.

Under New York’s seed-for-sale law, products sold by licensed dispensaries must come from local farmers.

However, the group warned that the “biomass” type of marijuana grown by farmers is not suitable for smoking.

Reginald Fluellen of the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition said:

“This type of cannabis is considered low grade, best suited for processing into oils, vapes, topicals, and edible cannabis products.”

“It is not suitable as a smokable flower for sale at dispensaries.”

Read also: Billy McFarland creates another “big” music festival

Product claims

Despite the claims, the State Office of Cannabis Management disputes allegations that it is approving bad weed.

“Let’s stick to the facts, and they’re clear,” said Damian Fagon, the OCM’s chief equity officer.

“New York’s first adult-use dispensaries will be selling products grown by New York family farmers that have been tested for a wide array of potentially harmful elements.”

Fagon was referring to the following elements:

  • Heavy metals
  • E-coli
  • Aspergillus
  • Other contaminants aligned with practices in other states

Read also: The Federal Reserve resort to smaller hikes

Training dispute

The Cannabis Social Equity Coalition also says dispensary owners haven’t received the training and incubation support needed to run the heavily regulated businesses.

As a result, companies are likely to struggle with high debt levels and “high-interest rates on debt repayment” from day one.

However, the OMC states that the claims were a buzzkill.

“These dispensary owners will receive support from the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, breaking down barriers to capital in the complex industry,” said Fagon.

“They’re able to jumpstart the legal market with delivery rates, growing their capital before they open a storefront.”

Damian Fagon also said that the owners previously ran successful businesses.

“Jumping to conclusions about the products they will sell and their ability to be successful will only be damaging to them and our effort to establish the most equitable cannabis market in the nation,” he added.

During the public comment process on cannabis regulations, Fagon took a shot at the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition as MIA, saying:

“We look forward to their input on the regulations for most of the remaining market that were advanced by the Cannabis Control Board last month since we didn’t receive comment from them on the regulations for this dispensary program.”


Despite the reassurance, there is no doubt that the program will face challenges.

A recent study revealed that there are likely thousands of illegal marijuana businesses operating in bodegas, tobacco shops, and other outlets in New York City.

Also, many pop-up shops likely sell dangerously contaminated weed.

Many of the black market weed sellers pay little or no taxes.

Meanwhile, the 36 state-owned retail operators that received state licenses in November will face a hefty tax.

The tax will make it harder for legal operators to compete on price with illegal operators across the city.


New York cannabis launch turning into bad trip, social justice critics claim

Here For Portland hands three thousand $50 gift cards

Here For Portland is a city-led nonprofit dedicated to getting its residents back on their feet after a troublesome pandemic.

The nonprofit brings people together for a green initiative that improves the city’s quality.

Here For Portland primarily helps local businesses rebuild, especially after weathering a troubling pandemic.


Last Friday night, Here For Portland gave away three thousand $50 gift certificates at the tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Square.

The gift cards were distributed through the free Kuto app.

People can also use it at participating businesses in the city.

Abe Proctor, director of communications for Worksystems, the workforce development board for Multnomah and Washington counties, commended the app, saying:

“The Kuto app is a local, BIPOC-owned company that helps people make electronic transactions while avoiding the fees that are charged by major financial institutions.”

“Everybody likes $50, right? And we’re giving away three thousand of these, so that’s $150,000,” he added.

Read also: Bob Iger set to bring more creativity to Disney

The initiative

The campaign is part of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s efforts to support the local downtown business establishments.

The goal is to help entrepreneurs recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Additionally, Here For Portland is committed to encouraging Portland residents to shop at local businesses this holiday season.

The nonprofit organization wants to highlight the importance of helping businesses owned by women and people from underprivileged communities.

On Friday evening, dozens of people lined up to receive the free gift card.


Residents greatly appreciate the nonprofit’s efforts.

“We’ve gotten Kuto gift cards before,” said Caty Jimenez.

“It’s given us a lot of opportunities to find new local businesses that we haven’t heard of before, or maybe we wanted to go to but didn’t have the money ourselves to spend on it.”

Meanwhile, other Portland residents believe Here For Portland’s efforts will help the city overcome some of its recent challenges and inspire others to shop locally for the holiday season.

“It’s a start,” acknowledged Bernard Lewis.

“I think it’s a great way to improvise and to jump over that hurdle, tear down that wall, and get Portland the recognition it really deserves.”

Read also: Leon Black faces lawsuit for sexual assault

Other notes

Here For Portland also operates with Portland State University.

The nonprofit helps students find paying jobs at downtown businesses.

Furthermore, students who enroll can work a total of 300 hours.

After the hours are completed, the businesses they worked with have the option to hire them on an ongoing basis.


Portland nonprofit distributes three thousand $50 gift cards to help local businesses

Elon Musk wary of Twitter removal from Apple

Elon Musk has claimed that Apple is threatening to remove Twitter from its iOS app store, which could throw off Twitter’s business.

The revelation fell on Monday.

If Apple goes ahead with its plan, it would be devastating for the company that Musk recently bought for $44 billion.

The tweets

On Monday, Elon Musk made several tweets targeting Apple and its CEO over the alleged move that could ruin Twitter’s business.

“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” Musk tweeted.

In another, the Twitter owner said Apple has largely stopped advertising.

“Do they hate free speech in America,” he asked, referencing his desire to bolster his idea of free speech on Twitter.

“What’s going on here [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?”

Elon Musk also criticized Apple’s size, claiming the tech giant engages in “censorship.”

He then blasted the 30% transaction fee Apple charges major app developers to get their apps up for the app store.

Read also: Jobless claims exceed analyst’s expectations


Elon Musk’s tweets shed light on his relationship with the tech giant.

Before acquiring the social media platform, Musk said when Tesla ran into problems, he considered selling the company to Apple.

However, Cook reportedly refused to meet him.


Removing Twitter from the Apple App Store (or even Google) would damage Twitter’s operations.

The social media platform is already struggling after losing advertisers following its acquisition.

In addition, the company is trying to increase its profits through its subscription business.

Apple has already shown a willingness to remove apps from its App Store due to concerns about harmful content or attempts to circumvent cuts Apple offers on purchases and subscriptions.

For example, Apple removed Parler in January 2021.

Parler was a popular app among conservatives, especially the far right.

Apple removed it after the Capitol attack over concerns about the platform’s ability to detect and moderate hate speech.

However, Parler returned to the App Store after three months following an update on its content moderation practices.

Read also: Russia threatens Europe, says it may cut gas


Earlier this month, Tim Cook had an interview with CBS.

He was asked if Twitter could somehow change that would cause Apple to remove the app from the app store.

“They say that they’re going to continue to moderate and so… I count on them to do that,” said Cook.

“Because I don’t think that anybody really wants hate speech on their platform. So I’m counting on them to continue to do that.”

Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, also hinted that the company has already received calls from App Store moderators since the Musk acquisition.

Roth said Twitter’s failure to follow Google’s and Apple’s App Store rules could be disastrous.

Phil Schiller, head of Apple’s App Store, deleted his Twitter account last weekend.

While the relationship between Apple and Twitter is unclear, the tech giant recently posted Black Friday announcements on social media.

Meanwhile, many companies have recently reduced their digital ad spending due to the economic downturn.

Twitter probably represents a small portion of Apple’s advertising budget.

However, Apple’s impact could be more remarkable, especially if Musk manages to shift his core business to subscription revenue and potentially pay Apple a 30% cut.


Elon Musk claims Apple has ‘threatened to withhold’ Twitter from its app store

Break-ins in Portland force store to close for good

Break-ins have become a persistent problem in Portland, Oregon, and a clothing store was recently closed for good due to the thefts.

This month, a series of break-ins have left the store in financial ruin.

They then posted a note on the front of the store to announce their closure.

The note

The notice from the clothing store referred to criminal behavior and employee safety concerns as reasons for the closure.

“Our city is in peril,” the Rains PDX store note reads. “Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business in our city’s current state.”

“We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses.”

“We have sustained 15 break-ins,” it continued. “We have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd.”

Read also: Elon Musk says SBF didn’t contribute to Twitter buy

The problem

Marcy Landolfo, the store owner, said she had suffered 14 thefts in the past year and a half.

As a result, the business can no longer survive the financial strain it costs the store.

“The problem is, as small businesses, we cannot sustain those types of losses and stay in business,” said Landolfo.

“I won’t even go into the numbers of how much has been out of pocket.”

“The products that are being targeted are the very expensive winter products and I just felt like the minute I get those in the store, they’re going to get stolen.”


Last month, Rains PDX faced another break-in.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office is developing a plan to help business owners financially repair their stores.

Marcy Landolfo, however, said tackling crime in Portland isn’t enough.

“Paying for glass, that’s great; but that is so surface and does nothing for the root cause of the problem, so it’s never going to change,” she said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said Mayor Wheeler and his team understand the plight of local businesses.

They said companies should pay out of pocket or file a claim with their insurance company.

On Sunday, the spokesperson said:

“For this reason, we’ve worked to increase funding for Business Repair Grants through Prosper Portland, and recently held a Retail Safety Summit to strategize with local business leaders and loss prevention specialists on the retail theft crisis.”

“We are also working with interested property owners to streamline the permitting process to add enhanced lighting to storefronts, which can help deter nighttime break-ins.”

Read also: Jobless claims exceed analyst’s expectations


In recent years, retail chains across the country have been plagued by break-ins.

The National Retail Federation conducted a study that showed organized retail crime grew 26.5% in 2021, leaving businesses with a multibillion-dollar problem.

Meanwhile, Portland has seen a rise in violent crime in recent years.

A recent 2020 survey found that the city experienced overnight protests and grievances following the death of George Floyd.

2020 also saw a 58% increase in homicides, while 2021 will see a 54% increase.


Portland store shuts down, posts blistering note on front door slamming rampant crime: ‘city is in peril’

Jay Laurent: Inspiration to Millions

Multimillionaire Jay Laurent, more commonly known as “sendwires” on Instagram, is a self-made serial entrepreneur based in Beverly Hills. He started his time in the world of business at 15, dropping out of high school and enrolling himself in a variety of business classes. These classes allowed him to acquire the knowledge needed to grow and prosper in a world where many fail.

For most adolescents, dropping out of high school at such a young age would be considered a one-way track to failure, but Jay saw it as an opportunity stating, “I never let school get in the way of my education”. He continued his pursuit of knowledge in an unconventional way that led him to a life of success at the mere age of 25.

As a successful serial entrepreneur, Jay owns over 10 million dollars in equity across a multitude of businesses with successful ventures worth seven figures year to date. He plays integral roles in various lucrative NFT projects and has self-designed and created his own business, WireTalk. Jay’s diverse skillset has enabled him to build an extensive rolodex in Beverly Hills revolving around politicians and seasoned business owners, often being referred to as a “Hired Gun”.

Jay’s consistency and work ethic resulting in success and prosperity earned him recognition as a top performing young entrepreneur by in 2022. He never allowed the opinions of others or feelings of self-doubt to keep him from pursuing the life he wanted. Jay urges others to “set high goals for themselves and to take risks to pursue their dreams”.

Future endeavors for Jay include the collaboration with his brother Nik, one of his biggest inspirations in both life and business, on Metalabz: a fully stacked web 3 development company specializing in the creation of NFT collections, tokenomics, and overall decentralized finance.

Jay will also continue his work on his self-funded 501C3 non-profit organization, “God Willing” to cherish our youth and enable them to pursue their dreams that are otherwise impossible. Jay will remain an inspiration to millions through his hard work and dedication to persevere in the face of adversity.

Meta set for change with workforce layoff

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, plans to begin its first major layoffs to cut its workforce amid a struggling economy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s move comes as it grapples with declining business and growing fears of a recession.

The news

The significant layoff is expected to affect thousands of employees.

According to the Journal, the layoffs could begin this week, citing anonymous people familiar with the case.

A September SEC filing also shares that Meta has over 87,000 employees.

Read also: Meta to make changes after stocks fall 17%

Earnings result

Last month, Meta held a conference call discussing the third quarter results.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he expects Meta to end 2023 with the same size or smaller organization than today.


While it’s not certain yet, the potential cuts could be linked to tighter budgets for advertisers.

Additionally, Apple’s iOS privacy changes have affected the company’s core businesses.

Last month, Meta reported a sales decline in the second quarter and reported that profits had halved from 2021.

The drop in profits is caused by the billions the company spent to build the metaverse.

The metaverse is what many suggest is the future of the Internet; however, it is probably years away from operating.

The social media giant had a market cap of over $ 1 trillion in 2021, but it has declined.

Meta is currently worth over $250 billion.

When news of the company’s job cuts surfaced, the company’s shares opened more than 5% higher on Monday morning.

Read also: UK gives breakup order, Meta to comply and sell Giphy

Other companies

Meta isn’t the only company in the tech industry rethinking its workforce.

Many companies in what was once considered an untouchable industry have recently announced staff freezes or job cuts.

The decision comes as a surprise as many grew rapidly during the pandemic.

Last week, Lyft announced that it would lay off 13% of its employees.

Payments processor Stripe also said it would cut 14% of its workforce.

Additionally, e-commerce giant Amazon has announced that it will pause corporate hiring.

Facebook’s rival Twitter made heavy cuts Friday after Elon Musk bought the social media company.

Twitter’s cuts have impacted its AI, marketing and communications, research and public policy team, just to name a few of the departments involved.

According to Bloomberg, Twitter asked dozens of laid-off employees to return.


Wall Street Journal: Meta is planning significant layoffs

Apple to see iPhone 14 models shipment setback

Apple is struggling with the same crisis as the rest of the industry and the company is set to take another blow to its operations.

According to the tech giant, shipments of iPhone 14 models will be “temporarily affected” by Covid restrictions in China.

Last week, China’s largest iPhone assembling site faced a Covid outbreak that caused a problem for the tech giant.


On Sunday, Apple issued a statement to shed light on the situation.

The company says that its Zhengzhou assembly plant is operating at reduced capacity due to Covid restrictions.

“We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models,” Apple’s statement reads.

Despite the positive news, the company still expects fewer deliveries than expected for the Pro models.

They also point out that customers will have to wait longer to receive their new iPhones.

Read also: Apple continues positive streak amid inflation

Outbreak and lockdown

The Zhengzhou factory is one of the tech giant’s largest suppliers.

Foxconn, Apple’s largest supplier, operates the Zhengzhou factory.

Since mid-October, the facility has been fighting a Covid epidemic causing panic among migrant workers.

Last week, authorities ordered a seven-day shutdown of the factory site.

The lockdown, while necessary, is putting pressure on Foxconn and Apple, especially as the holiday season begins soon.

It also highlights the impact of China’s strict zero Covid policy, which is hurting domestic and international businesses.

China’s approach

Recently, global and Chinese companies across various industries have been facing severe business disruptions.

The disruption comes from China, which is stepping up its zero-covid approach.

While things are unlikely to improve anytime soon, China’s State Council reiterated its unwavering commitment to zero-covid policy at a press conference on Saturday.

The pledge statement comes after rumors were circulating that the Chinese government was easing restrictions on the pandemic and reducing quarantine days.

Read also: Flash report: EU looking to phase out Apple’s Lightning connector in favor of USB-C

Other notes

While the tech giant is the latest victim of China’s zero Covid policy, Apple is doing better than its compatriots in the tech industry despite the global economic downturn.

In October, Apple beat Wall Street analysts’ sales and earnings expectations for the September quarter.


Apple expects iPhone 14 shipments to be hit by China’s Covid curbs

General Motors will pull ads out of Twitter after Musk acquisition

General Motors is taking a break from Twitter announcements as rival Tesla CEO Elon Musk takes control of the social media platform.

The automaker released a statement on Friday following Musk’s purchase over Twitter on Thursday.


General Motors revealed that it is implementing the advertising break while the company assesses the situation on Twitter.

The country’s biggest automaker confirmed that it will continue using the platform to interact with customers but will not pay for advertising.

“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership,” General Motors said in a statement.

“As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising.”

Read also: Elon Musk shares a conspiracy theory on Twitter

Elon Musk

The Tesla CEO and founder finally bought out the social media platform on Thursday night after six months of negotiations.

Before finalizing the deal, Elon Musk was worried about the potential loss of ad revenue.

He then sent a letter to advertisers on Thursday to reassure them.

Musk says he doesn’t want Twitter to become a “hellscape” where anything can be said without consequences.

However, he initially promised to reconsider the platform’s content moderation policies and strengthen freedom of expression.

“Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise,” Musk said in a letter.

“Let us build something extraordinary together.”


The social media platform’s revenue comes mainly from advertising.

Advertisements generated 92% of Twitter’s revenue in the second quarter.

Dan Ives, a technology analyst at Wedbush Securities, said it would be disastrous for the company if advertisers were scared off by Elon Musk’s Twitter ownership.

“It sends an ominous signal,” said Ives. “GM [General Motors] is the first, but it’s not going to be the only one.”

“We have to wait and see if there’s a wave. On the day that Musk closes the deal, it’s not the news he wanted to hear.”

Read also: Dogecoin climbs higher after Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase


General Motors currently competes with Tesla (Elon Musk’s company) for car sales.

The company is struggling to sell electric vehicles and lags behind Tesla in overall electric vehicle sales in the United States.

So far this year, electric vehicles have only accounted for about 1% of General Motors sales in the United States.

Additionally, the company has ambitious growth plans for electric vehicles and revealed plans to stop selling gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

However, Twitter is unlikely to support Tesla financially, as the company loses hundreds of millions of dollars every quarter.

Tesla is still profitable despite the company’s disappointing quarter.

Dan Ives says it can’t be ruled out that part of General Motors’ decision to make the announcement was a shot across the bow at Musk.

“It shows how they view Tesla as a competitor in the EV space,” he said.

Ives also noted that if more advertisers continue to monetize Twitter, it won’t just be automakers.


GM pauses advertising on Twitter after Elon Musk takeover

A homeless camp in Portland presents problems to a local business

Portland’s homeless camps have grown over the years, and now a family business is impacted by a particular homeless camp.

The White family has operated an RV storage facility off of North Columbia Boulevard since the 1970s.

In the decades since opening their business, the White family reported that their facility had recently been overrun by a nearby homeless camp.

What happened

Jeffrey White reported this week that the motorhomes had been hacked.

“This is one of our customers,” he said. “His storage thing was ripped off, his lock was busted.”

White said homeless people in a nearby large camp would sometimes break into their homes and rob them.

The camp was visited by the KGW news channel two months ago.

He’s also high on the city’s elimination list, but the camp remains.

Neighboring contractors then shouted that the problem was getting worse.

“It’s costing a lot of money,” said White. “We’re down ten spaces, which translates to $1,000 a month.”

According to him, the empty spaces were once occupied, but the presence of the warehouse caused customers to move elsewhere.

“We are losing sleep on top of losing money,” Tamara White chimed in.

Reaching the authorities

According to the family, they called the police and filed a complaint with the city, but nothing was done.

“The mayor, he’s wanting people to work with him … what more can we do?” said White.

“We’re telling the police department all these shots we’re hearing, we’re telling all the theft that’s going on, my wife has emailed all the city commissioners, the mayor, and no response.”

Meanwhile, Portland said the Impact Mitigation Team visited the property seven times in the past 60 days.

The camp will be removed shortly, as each evaluation produced a field score well above the matrix required for removal.

The camp

It is currently on display with tall fences, tarps and several “forbidden” signs that were posted after the police visited the camp.

Angel Grace Brown, of Grace’s Oasis, who runs the camp, said police came to the scene to look for stolen items.

There is a sign along the gate that says “no vacancy” and Grace said 15 people lived there at the time and it was already too busy.

“It’s my sanctuary,” said Grace.

“I wanted it to be that for other people too. People who don’t fit into society, people who are the rejects of the rejects of the rejects.”

Grace said none of the people who lived in the camp had jobs and most lived on Social Security.

Portland police recently visited the camp for reports of gunfire, but found no evidence of gunshots.

The site is also known to generate similar calls to the police.

Grace says she won’t go if the city decides to evict the camp. 

I’ll chain myself to the oak tree that’s back there,” said Grace.

“They’re going to have to literally physically remove me, carry me out of here.”

Meanwhile, White looked resigned and said, “I don’t know what more we can do.”

“Maybe city hall can tell us what more we’re supposed to do.”


Longtime Portland business says it’s losing customers due to large homeless camp