May TikTok nonetheless face a ban within the US?
The Trump administration had sought to bully the app into US possession, or face a ban, again in 2020, attributable to issues over its potential hyperlinks to the CCP, however since then TikTok has been in a position to keep away from any main 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 resolution makers and officers.
However the prospect of a TikTok ban was raised this week, when TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas appeared earlier than a US Senate Committee Listening to 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 components. However ultimately, questions nonetheless lingered about TikTok’s processes, and the way US person knowledge might theoretically be fed by means 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 Road 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 essential applied sciences or might endanger provide chains and private knowledge.”
That transfer is essentially centered on broader acquisition exercise by Chinese language tech firms, together with efforts by China-based buyers to amass US semiconductor firms, which have ramped up in current instances.
But it surely might additionally relate to TikTok, with reference to non-public knowledge. And whereas this group shall be taking a look at future funding, it appears doubtless 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 nonetheless working with US authorities to give you an answer that ‘will fulfill all nationwide safety issues’. That features transferring all US person knowledge to Oracle knowledge facilities within the US, which, in its view at the very least, ought to alleviate issues about China-based workers accessing US person data.
However nonetheless, Pappas wasn’t precisely crystal clear on whether or not US person information could possibly be shared past the platform:
“Pappas affirmed in Wednesday’s listening to that the corporate has stated, on file, that its Chinese language workers do have entry to US person knowledge. She additionally reiterated that TikTok has stated it might “by no means … give that knowledge to China” and denied that TikTok is in any means influenced by China. Nonetheless, she prevented saying whether or not ByteDance would preserve US person knowledge 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 father or mother firm ByteDance, and what that would imply for a similar.
Ultimately, regardless of Pappas’ greatest efforts, it wasn’t rather a lot clearer the place TikTok stands with reference to US person knowledge security, and what TikTok’s obligations could also be if the CCP had been to ask for such.
Which might nonetheless be a killer for the app. And with the Committee on Overseas Funding in america (CFIUS) nonetheless conducting a safety assessment 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 continues to be very actual, and looms as a respectable risk ongoing.
Proper now, nonetheless, it looks as if its destiny is essentially within the arms of the CCP itself.
India banned TikTok in 2020, attributable to ongoing border disputes with China, and it took that extra battle, and escalation in exercise, to make Indian authorities lastly transfer to get rid of the potential risk 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 unbiased Taiwan. The Biden Administration has taken a totally different strategy 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 might be prevented, perhaps TikTok can proceed to journey the road.
However that’s the place I’d be trying. Proper now, the issues round TikTok are simmering, but when there’s a extra direct motive to take quick motion, that would occur, very quick.