Newest Senate Listening to Raises Extra Questions About TikTok’s Future within the US

May TikTok nonetheless face a ban within the US?

The Trump administration had sought to bully the app into US ownership, or face a ban, again in 2020, as a result of issues over its potential hyperlinks to the CCP, however since then TikTok has been capable of avoid any major escalation in scrutiny, by working with US authorities on safety and transparency measures, within the hopes that it might be able to higher ingratiate it with key choice makers and officers.

However the prospect of a TikTok ban was raised this week, when TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas appeared before a US Senate Committee Hearing into the impacts of social media on democracy, with numerous questions leveled at Pappas over TikTok’s connections, and obligations, to the CCP.

Pappas refuted most issues, and tactically averted sure components. However in the long run, questions nonetheless lingered about TikTok’s processes, and the way US consumer knowledge may theoretically be fed by way of to the Chinese language Authorities by way of the app.

This additionally comes amid a broader crackdown on Chinese language tech funding exercise within the US.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

The Biden administration is ordering a panel that screens overseas funding for nationwide safety dangers to intensify scrutiny of offers which will give China and different adversaries entry to vital applied sciences or might endanger provide chains and private knowledge.

That transfer is basically targeted on broader acquisition exercise by Chinese language tech firms, together with efforts by China-based buyers to accumulate US semiconductor firms, which have ramped up in latest occasions.

But it surely may additionally relate to TikTok, with regard to private knowledge. And whereas this group might be taking a look at future funding, it appears seemingly that this might additionally sign a broader shift in focus inside US evaluation of all potential dangers on this respect.

For its half, TikTok says that it still working with US authorities to provide you with an answer that ‘will fulfill all nationwide safety issues’. That features moving all US user data to Oracle data centers in the US, which, in its view at the least, ought to alleviate issues about China-based staff accessing US consumer info.

However nonetheless, Pappas wasn’t precisely crystal clear on whether or not US consumer data could be shared beyond the platform:

Pappas affirmed in Wednesday’s listening to that the corporate has mentioned, on document, that its Chinese language staff do have entry to US consumer knowledge. She additionally reiterated that TikTok has mentioned it might “certainly not … give that knowledge to China” and denied that TikTok is in any means influenced by China. Nevertheless, she averted saying whether or not ByteDance would maintain US consumer knowledge from the Chinese language authorities or whether or not ByteDance could also be influenced by China.

Pappas additionally averted questions on CCP-aligned staffers working for parent company ByteDance, and what that might imply for a similar.

In the long run, regardless of Pappas’ greatest efforts, it wasn’t loads clearer the place TikTok stands with regard to US consumer knowledge security, and what TikTok’s obligations could also be if the CCP have been to ask for such.

Which may nonetheless be a killer for the app. And with the Committee on Overseas Funding in america (CFIUS) still conducting a security review of the app, and Meta utilizing its small military of lobbyists in Washington to proceed to seed doubt about its motivations and processes, it does appear that the specter of TikTok being banned within the US completely remains to be very actual, and looms as a authentic risk ongoing.

Proper now, nonetheless, it looks as if its destiny is basically within the palms of the CCP itself.

India banned TikTok in 2020, as a result of ongoing border disputes with China, and it took that further battle, and escalation in exercise, to make Indian authorities lastly transfer to remove the potential menace that the app posed.

The US, already in an oscillating commerce battle with China, lately raised tensions with the CCP additional by publicly supporting an independent Taiwan. The Biden Administration has taken a different approach to China than Trump did, however the strains are there, and tensions may escalate at any time.

And in the event that they do, then TikTok could possibly be caught within the center, and banned consequently – but when additional, broader battle may be averted, possibly TikTok can proceed to experience the road.

However that’s the place I’d be wanting. Proper now, the issues round TikTok are simmering, but when there’s a extra direct purpose to take fast motion, that might occur, very quick.

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