TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faces skeptical Washington lawmakers pertaining to the company’s ties to the Chinese government. Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is under serious pressure as government officials in Washington, the United Kingdom, and Canada was forced to delete the application from their smartphones and tablets.
In the United States, President Joe Biden’s administration has set an ultimatum to TikTok saying they either forgo Chinese ownership or face a complete ban.
The United States government has never banned a media company, let alone delete 150 million monthly users and the most viewed source of online entertainment following Netflix.
According to Chew, “TikTok has never shared, or received a request to share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government. Nor would TikTok honor such a request if one were ever made.”
Several pieces of legislation – including a White House-backed bill – suggests a ban is imminent.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee said, “Americans deserve to know the extent to which their privacy is jeopardized, and their data is manipulated by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China. What’s worse, we know Big Tech companies, like TikTok, use harmful algorithms to exploit children for profit and expose them to dangerous content online.”
As teachers, teenagers, influencers, and business owners rallied at the U.S. Capitol to express their opposition to the ban, TikTok has been promoting their solution, dubbed “Project Texas.” The project is aimed at satisfying national security concerns and ensuring United States data will be run by a U.S. division. TikTok has already spent $1.5 billion on the project, hiring 1,500 staff to start.
Despite these security concerns and a looming U.S. government ban, three in four marketers anticipate increasing spending over the next 12 months. The TikTok-committed marketing industry is fairly confident a ban would not happen, but a ban could force other social media companies such as Meta, YouTube, and Snap into the limelight.
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