TikTok is the app of the moment: it is the most downloaded in the world (August data), and intends to grow further by hiring employees from competitors of the caliber of Facebook, Apple and Amazon. We even talk about a TikTok smartphone made by ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the property.
If we have tried to explain the phenomenon to the less young, they are also trying to do those of ByteDance to the American authorities, who have put the app in their sights by inserting it in the cauldron of the US-China political-commercial war. A new ban in sight like the one that touched Huawei?
WHAT IS GOING ON
The news bounced from Reuters, which reports how the US Government has launched an investigation to verify the presence of any national security risks in the deal that brought the app Musical.ly (American) to be acquired two years ago by ByteDance (Chinese) for $ 1 billion which in turn has "merged" with TikTok.
The problems that emerged are now basically two:
- TikTok is accused of censor political content (Hong Kong issue on all)
- there would not be enough data to understand how the collected data is managed and especially, where they end up
The CFIUS, Committee on Foreign Investment of the United States, which began to study the acquisition in detail. In particular, not convincing the experts is the fact that, yes, the property confirms that all data is saved and stored in the US, but also that the property itself must in some way be subject to Chinese laws.
This conflict alarms the American authorities, convinced that the app can be used for espionage. Reassurances come from TikTok: "China has no jurisdiction over the contents of the app", they say.
ALSO FACEBOOK AGAINST TIKTOK
All (in the US) against TikTok: not just politicians like Marco Rubio ( "Any Chinese-owned platform that collects huge amounts of American data is a potential serious threat to our country"tweeted), but also CEO of competing companies. Zuckerberg, for example, has criticized the censorship put in place by the Chinese app.
Two distinct points of view therefore remain: on one side the United States worries that the app can be exploited to collect sensitive data of the population (many US military use it, among other things), on the other side there is the same TikTok that reiterates that China has no power, as the platform is not active at home (but there is an alternative douyin, also by ByteDance) and data centers are in foreign countries, including Singapore, Japan and the USA. A note, however, is a must: as noted by the Courier service, on the TikTok Privacy information page (Italian version), the words:
We store and process user information in the United States of America, in Singapore, in Japan or in China.