Post: USA took action against TikTok: Is there a ban?

The US is targeting TikTok, threatening a nationwide ban. Today, CEO Shou Zi Chew answers questions from US lawmakers.

In the United States, a ban on TikTok is being discussed due to its links with China. The company boss must now defend the popular video app in Congress.

“This is our home, a place where we survive the pandemic together, where we build relationships,” says Vitus Spehar of Rochester, New York, via the TikTok video platform. About 30 creators from around the country gathered outside the Capitol building on Wednesday evening to protest a possible ban on the practice in the US.

“Whatever your skin color, sexual orientation or resources, TikTok gives you a shot,” says Baedri Nichole, who runs a bakery in Columbus, Ohio, and uses TikTok as a marketing tool.

US President and Congress take action against TikTok

There is a shouting in the country. Because US President Joe Biden gave a kind of ultimatum to the owners of the TikTok video platform: either you sell TikTok in the USA or we ban the application nationwide.

Such a ban could affect almost half of all Americans, as the app is used by more than 150 million Americans, according to TikTok’s data.

Not only the President, but also US lawmakers from both parties have security concerns and want to take action against TikTok by law. At the afternoon’s hearing, TikTok’s CEO will answer your questions.

What concerns does the US have?

TikTok is owned by the Chinese ByteDance group and is the most downloaded app worldwide with one billion users. This makes it the only major and also successful social media platform in the West that does not come from the US.

We have concerns about the collection of user data and national security risk.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

The US government has two specific concerns about TikTok:

one. Data security and data collection

Like any other social media app, TikTok collects data about users in the US: what videos they watch, what comments they write, their private messages, search and browser history, email address, phone number and – if you agree – also location and contact list. .

The fact that this data could be transferred to the Chinese government worries politicians. The background is the National Intelligence Agency Law of the People’s Republic of China, 2017. This could be read as requiring any of the Chinese intelligence services to spy on them or provide data.

2. Influencing users and propaganda

Depending on the videos TikTok shows or does not show to the user, users may be affected. There have been repeated reports that the app is not playing or even censoring certain content, such as China-critical content.

What evidence is there?

So far, government representatives and officials such as the FBI have spoken of the danger and potential risk that data could be handed over to the Chinese government. “No evidence of this has been made public,” says Adam Segal, cybersecurity expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Darrell West, a political scientist at the Center for Technology Innovation, agrees that if there is a threat to national security, it must be proven. “I want to see more evidence on the table.”

One incident makes us suspicious: ByteDance employees are spying on journalists. Forbes employees were identified using user data and IP addresses. ByteDance confirmed the incident and fired the staff. The US Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating the case.

What data theft cases are China known for?

The US blames China for a series of cyber attacks and believes the government is behind the attacks. However, these have nothing to do with TikTok.

It’s not clear to me what makes TikTok more dangerous, given the many cyberattacks and opportunities that China has.

Adam Segal, Cybersecurity Specialist, Council on Foreign Relations

Here are three examples of the biggest cases:

Source: ZDF

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