The future of TikTok: the CEO of the Chinese platform testifies to the US Congress in a tense climate

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TikTok is being targeted by governments and international institutions, given the suspicion that the Chinese authorities may violate the right to privacy through the data collected in this very popular application in much of the planet.

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To try to clarify those doubts, the executive director of TikTok, Shou Zi Chewappears this Thursday, for the first time, before a US Congressional committee, in this case that of Energy and Commerce, to talk about the policies of this video-sharing platform on data privacy, its impact on age of minors and its ties to the Communist Party of China.

In these moments of geopolitical strugglesome Western governments and institutions have banned the app on their official phones for national security reasons.

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In the midst of anticipation for Shou Zi Chew’s appearance in Washington on Thursday, China warned it would “firmly” reject a veto on TikTok.

The popular Chinese application Tiktok, the center of an international conflict.  Photo: AP

The popular Chinese application Tiktok, the center of an international conflict. Photo: AP

Beijing said a ban on the application in the United States would “undermine the confidence of investors from various countries, including China, in the United States.”

China would strongly object“to this decision, Commerce Ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting, quoted by the Jiemian News, said.

The US government has threatened the Chinese company that owns TikTok with a nationwide ban on the social network if it doesn’t sell its shares in the popular app, several US media outlets reported.

TikTok, whose parent company is Chinese tech company ByteDance, recently confirmed the information to the paper The Wall Street Journal.

What is TikTok

TikTok is an application that allows you to make short mobile videos with millions of views. It has become one of the favorite social networks of many young people in dozens of countries, as well as being a diversion, a tool for looking for information on everyday life or for keeping up to date with the latest news.

It was launched in September 2016 by the Chinese company ByteDance under the name of Douyin. According to company data, as of January 2023, the platform had a potential reach of 1,051 million users, 20.4% of Internet users over the age of 18, and its ads reached 13.1% of the world’s population.

As far as downloads go, TikTok has been growing year on year. The first quarter of 2022 had 176 million downloads. With this, it has accumulated more than 3,500 million downloads worldwide since its launch, according to the American company Sensor Tower.

what is the conflict

But this success has been accompanied by the concerns of Western countries who fear that ByteDance may share the data of users of the social network with the Chinese government.

Something that is in contradiction with safety regulations, especially in Europe. Also, like other platforms, TikTok was too accused of offering content that may harm young people and adolescents.

T-shirted officials are calling for a ban on Tiktok, this Thursday in the US Congress ahead of CEO Shou Zi Chew's statement.  Photo: AP

T-shirted officials are calling for a ban on Tiktok, this Thursday in the US Congress ahead of CEO Shou Zi Chew’s statement. Photo: AP

The United States was the first country to impose restrictions on China’s internet, in 2020, where about two-thirds of its teenagers use it. In the midst of the tariff war with China, Donald Trump banned downloads of the app until its US subsidiary was sold to a domestic company.

The order was withdrawn by his successor, Joe Biden, who requested nonetheless an investigation into the security risks posed by the network. In December 2022, the US Senate banned federal government employees from using the application on official devices.

In Canada, the use of the application has also been banned since February 27 on phones that the government provides to its staff.

Shortly before that, on February 23, the European Commission and the Council of the EU banned their employees from installing or using the application on official devices to further strengthen cybersecurity measures.

Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark also took similar measures in March.

In Asia, countries such as India, Taiwan, Pakistan and Afghanistan have also ended the use of the Chinese social network. Since 2020 the Pakistani authorities have banned its use because they consider it immoralthe same thing Afghanistan did in April 2022.

The case of India is related to security. The ban of Tik Tok and other Chinese apps like WeChat came in 2020 after clashes between Indian and Chinese troops on the border between the two countries.

Taiwan did so in December 2022 when it banned its use for national security reasons. The veto reached mobile phones, tablets and personal computers on which software of Chinese origin could not be used, including Tik Tok.

Finally, the New Zealand Parliament announced a ban on the use of TikTok on all electronic devices connected to the Wellington legislative network from March 31 for cybersecurity reasons.

Source: EFE

Source: Clarin

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