Recently, a powerful storm system menaced the South and Midwest, leaving a wake of destruction and tragedy in its path. At least 32 people were killed with several states declaring states of emergency. But amidst all the chaos, U.S. lawmakers found time to grill the CEO of video-sharing app TikTok over concerns about national security.
ByteDance’s CEO Kevin Mayer was grilled by Congress, who demanded answers about the potential security implications of the Chinese-owned social network. Mayer assured the lawmakers that TikTok follows data and privacy regulations put in place by the U.S. and other countries and that their algorithms work to mitigate the spread of misinformation or hate speech.
The company is currently facing a large amount of scrutiny over its data collection, storage and compliance with security policies that could leave the app vulnerable to exploitation. Some lawmakers have suggested banning the app completely if their policy recommendations are not met.
The meeting holds immense import considering the prevalence of the app. Over 100 million Americans have TikTok accounts and videos created by individuals and businesses are seen by millions of users daily. Beyond the conversation of security and data, the company was also peppered with inquiries about its indirect links to China and the safety of their users’ rights and data privacy.
The discussion revealed an underlying issue of national-level concerns, focusing on the boundaries between international ownership and the presence of domestic security laws. It brought to the table an in-depth conversation about data usage and its implications beyond the app-based services we use today.
The discussion brought more attention to the growing political and technological impact of the Chinese companies on the rest of the world. For a long time, tech and media companies had ties to China that they kept quiet and thinly veiled. With a head of state as politically engaged as President Xi Jinping, this discussion and the decisions that come with it could have a long-lasting ripple effect for the rest of the world.
As for TikTok, the company is facing strong scrutiny over its relationship with Beijing. Because the social media giant has such immense reach, it is crucial that strict guidelines are followed in order to protect the users’ data and safety.
Congress and the Justice Department are looking into the company’s data privacy practices and whether the company is continuing to violate U.S. laws and regulations. Whether the issue will be resolved remains to be seen, but it is important to note the power of the app’s large userbase and its potential risks.
TikTok is one of the many Chinese companies that has been increasingly facing criticism and pressure this year. This recent discussion brings to attention how the Chinese Communist Party, through its affiliated companies, impacts the economic and political landscape of the world. It emphasizes the importance of clear and transparent policies when it comes to protecting users’ data and rights across the board.
TikTok is a popular video-sharing app owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. The app is a platform for people to create and share short videos, and is particularly popular with a younger generation. Originally founded in 2012, it has since become one of the most highly-used apps in the world, with over 800 million monthly active users. ByteDance acquired its American rival Musical.ly in 2018 and combined the two platforms to create TikTok. Despite the app’s success, however, the company has come under fire over its potential links to the Chinese government and its data security policies for user content.