The Status of TikTok

Graphic in black and white, featuring total active monthly users on TikTok
Photo Credit: GGD News

This Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will face U.S. Congress in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. The session is meant to provide transparency on the social media giant’s data/security practices and relationship with China’s Communist Party. The app is already banned in India. The U.K., European Union, and Canada have restricted government employees from usage. 

The U.S. has already banned government employees from using TikTok, but is considering an outright, country-wide ban. To remain active in the United States, ByteDance (the Chinese company behind TikTok) is also being offered the option to get bought out and owned by a U.S. company. However, with a value of over $400 billion, only a few companies could actually step up. 

The hearing will not only determine more details, but reveal what the Biden Administration will do if Chinese owners agree to sell their ByteDance stakes to a Big Tech firm based in the U.S. Will extra steps still be taken to protect the privacy/security of users based in the U.S? Will current government restrictions around the world be lifted?  If no sale happens, experts say a ban is likely; but that still might not prevent “old” access to over 100 million monthly users in the U.S. who’ve already downloaded the app, thereby sharing their data.   

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