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# TikTok Argues {That a} US Ban Would Damage Native Companies in Pre-Ready Testimony

TikTok Argues {That a} US Ban Would Damage Native Companies in Pre-Ready Testimony

With a full ban of the app within the US looming, all the things might be driving on TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s look earlier than the US Home Committee on Power and Commerce this week, wherein Chew could have the chance to current TikTok’s case, and persuade senators that TikTok doesn’t pose a nationwide safety menace.

However he’ll have his work minimize out for him – amid rising US/China tensions, and experiences of employees from dad or mum firm ByteDance stalking US journalists, in addition to revelations of retrospective person information shops, it does look like TikTok is destined for sanctions, a method or one other. Add to this the escalating issues round China’s assist for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which had been heightened once more this week when Chinese language President Xi Jinping met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and the indicators all level to the US making a transfer on TikTok, a method or one other.

Whether or not that’s a compelled sell-off – which might require the approval of the CCP – or an outright ban, TikTok, proper now, feels prefer it’s on the sting.

And at this time, the Home Power Committee has launched Shou Zi Chew’s pre-prepared testimony, which particulars the argument that Chew will current, when he stands earlier than the Senate this week.

Chew’s opening assertion focuses on the advantages that TikTok brings to the US, and particularly, the way it helps small companies. Chew additionally supplies some notes on general TikTok utilization:

“Greater than 150 million individuals in the US use TikTok on a month-to-month foundation, with the typical person at this time being an grownup nicely previous faculty age. Their movies present a lens by which the remainder of the world can expertise American tradition. Examples embrace TikTok’s function in bringing publicity to American musicians, artists, cooks, and plenty of extra. Whereas customers in the US symbolize 10 % of our world neighborhood, their voice accounts for 25 % of the whole views world wide.”

It’s attention-grabbing to notice the typical person age, as per Chew’s instance right here, which is probably going older than many would count on.

Chew then outlines the important thing issues about TikTok, as communicated to him by US officers:

  • Minor security
  • Information privateness and safety
  • Actual-world harms from on-line actions
  • The danger of overseas content material manipulation

Chew then outlines TikTok’s varied efforts to supply safety for minors, and restrict publicity to dangerous tendencies.

However the huge one is clearly information privateness, and the priority that China-based employees might be spying on US customers.

On this aspect, Chew supplies an summary of ‘Mission Texas’, which sees TikTok routing all US person information by US-based Oracle servers.

Mission Texas is an unprecedented initiative devoted to safeguarding each U.S. person information and U.S. nationwide safety pursuits. This initiative addresses key problems with company governance, content material suggestion and moderation, information safety, and system entry. It’s a complete bundle of measures with layers of impartial oversight to guard in opposition to backdoors into TikTok that might be used to control the platform or entry U.S. user-protected information.”

The undertaking, which has already price TikTok over $1.5 billion, will ultimately see all US person information saved within the US, and based on Chew, will be certain that it’s not accessible by Chinese language employees.

“Presently, one hundred pc of U.S. person visitors is being routed to Oracle and USDS-controlled infrastructure in the US. USDS is operating our suggestion system for U.S. customers, which determines what seems within the For You feed, within the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Furthermore, Oracle has already begun inspecting TikTok’s supply code and could have unprecedented entry to the associated algorithms and information fashions. No different social media firm, or leisure platform like TikTok, supplies this degree of entry and transparency.”

Chew additionally notes that historic US person information saved in non-Oracle servers might be deleted later this yr.

Although as famous, TikTok’s belief on this regard has been impacted by the case of ByteDance employees spying on US journalists, by utilizing TikTok location information to correlate their actions.

Chew additionally addresses this incident straight:

“One other necessary a part of being a accountable steward of person information is proudly owning as much as our errors and making adjustments to deal with them. That’s why we promptly took motion, together with a companywide disclosure, once we discovered late final yr that sure (now former) staff had accessed TikTok person information in an unsuccessful and misguided try and hint the supply of a leak of confidential TikTok data. We additionally notified this Committee about these ill-advised actions inside moments of informing our staff. I condemn this misconduct within the strongest potential phrases.”

In his closing arguments, Chew says that he doesn’t assume a full ban of TikTok will clear up the problems or issues at hand, whereas it’ll influence US customers.

Chew additionally pledges that TikTok is not going to share US person information with Chinese language officers:

“TikTok has by no means shared, or acquired a request to share, U.S. person information with the Chinese language authorities. Nor would TikTok honor such a request if one had been ever made. Certainly, a 2021 report from Citizen Lab, an internationally famend safety analysis laboratory, discovered that there was no overt information transmission by TikTok to the Chinese language authorities and that TikTok didn’t contact any servers inside China.”

It’s a tough promote, given the examples of the info that TikTok has entry too, and the methods wherein its employees have not less than tried to make use of such for in poor health objective. However Chew might be hoping that his arguments will persuade US lawmakers to go straightforward on the app, and let it proceed to function, with these provisos in place.

But it surely’ll be Chew’s responses to direct questioning that might be important, and that would go awry rapidly. Which can not essentially even be Chew’s fault, given the previous questioning we’ve seen of social media CEOs, wherein a spread of random questions can get thrown at them by politicians with various levels of understanding of tech.

Chew might be placed on the spot, and his responses would be the figuring out issue that would see TikTok minimize off from the American market.

And if the US imposes a TikTok ban, different areas will comply with. It’s not a certainty {that a} ban might be imposed, however Chew’s written testimony doesn’t do so much to supply new assurance.

Andrew Hutchinson
Content material and Social Media Supervisor


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