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

Might 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 consequence 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 prevented sure parts. However ultimately, questions nonetheless lingered about TikTok’s processes, and the way US consumer information might theoretically be fed by to the Chinese language Authorities through 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 international funding for nationwide safety dangers to intensify scrutiny of offers which will give China and different adversaries entry to crucial applied sciences or might endanger provide chains and private information.

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

But it surely might additionally relate to TikTok, with regard to private information. And whereas this group will likely be 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 no less than, ought to alleviate issues about China-based staff accessing US consumer data.

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 stated, on file, that its Chinese language staff do have entry to US consumer information. She additionally reiterated that TikTok has stated it could “on no account … give that information to China” and denied that TikTok is in any manner influenced by China. Nonetheless, she prevented saying whether or not ByteDance would hold US consumer information from the Chinese language authorities or whether or not ByteDance could also be influenced by China.

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

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

Which might nonetheless be a killer for the app. And with the Committee on Overseas Funding in the USA (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 fully remains to be very actual, and looms as a professional chance ongoing.

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

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

The US, already in an oscillating commerce battle with China, just 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 might escalate at any time.

And in the event that they do, then TikTok could possibly be caught within the center, and banned because of this – but when additional, broader battle may be prevented, perhaps TikTok can proceed to trip 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 cause to take instant motion, that would occur, very quick.

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