TikTok has reportedly proposed having an independent, third-party monitor check the social media app’s algorithms to find out if the Chinese government is accessing Americans’ user data.
As a part of the reported plan, US-based tech entities similar to Oracle would review the code governing how TikTok chooses the videos that users see and which videos are deleted.
The proposed reorganization is an element of the ByteDance-owned app’s try to persuade US lawmakers that it isn’t allowing Beijing to spy on American users of the favored video-sharing platform.
TikTok has also offered to create a subsidiary, TikTok US Data Security (USDS), which might report back to an outdoor board of directors with a “primary fiduciary responsibility” to the US government, based on the Wall Street Journal.
The USDS would hire 2,500 people to observe the app’s safety mechanisms. None of those hired can be Chinese nationals because the subsidiary can be beholden to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), based on the Journal.
CFIUS is a federal agency that operates under the auspices of the Treasury Department. It’s tasked with reviewing transactions involving foreign investment within the US.
TikTok has been in talks with CFIUS for the past two years looking for to satisfy the Biden administration’s demands to implement safeguards that might protect Americans’ data from alleged spying.
A spokesperson for TikTok told the Journal: “We will not be waiting for an agreement to be in place.”
TikTok has proposed a $1.5 billion reorganization that might allow third parties to observe and safeguard the app’s algorithm.Getty Images
“We’ve made substantial progress on implementing that solution over the past yr and stay up for completing that work to place these concerns to rest.”
If no agreement is reached, the Biden administration could force ByteDance to dump the US division of TikTok or it could ban the app from the US altogether.
Several governors have moved to ban state employees from using TikTok on their government-issued devices.
ByteDance has long denied allegations that TikTok conducts espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
TikTok has exploded in popularity in recent times, particularly amongst Gen Z millennials who’ve migrated away from dominant social media rivals similar to Facebook and Instagram.
It’s estimated that TikTok has greater than 700 million lively users worldwide — some 100 million of whom are in the US, an astronomical figure considering that the app had just 11 million American users in 2018, based on CNBC.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy, told The Post: “Certain US politician’s comments are only groundless slanders.”
“The corporate concerned is a personal enterprise that conducts business within the US in accordance with market principles and international rules and complies with US laws and regulations,” the spokesperson said.
“The US government should give it fair, just and non-discriminatory treatment.”