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Security Concerns: TikTok future hangs in the balance as UK, Canada, EU, others ban video platform

*TikTok, a short video platform with a billion monthly active users, has continued to face increasing scrutiny from governments around the world due to its China links

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

TikTok, a short video platform, has continued to face increasing scrutiny cum headwinds from governments around the world due to its China links.

The technology company recently disclosed it had over 150 million monthly users (nearly half the population) in the United State (US), up from 100 million just a year ago, report said.

However, the exponential growth of the social media platform comes at a time it is also facing an existential crisis in the US.

ConsumerConnect reports President Joe Biden’s administration seeks a ban or a potential sale of the platform to a local owner in the American country.

US legislators last Thursday questioned  Shou Zi Chew, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TikTok, on the app’s purported ties to China and the danger it poses to the country’s “national security”.

The Congressional questioning for over five hours was to get clarification on TikTok’s autonomy.

Due to its ties to China, TikTok’s future is in doubt, not just in the US but also in other countries, according to report.

It was learnt though the tech company had made efforts at allaying fears, it looks like the challenges are far from over for several other countries which have rushed to ban the app from devices of government officials.

A number of countries including the UK, Denmark, Canada, and New Zealand, along with the European Union (UK), have already banned TikTok from devices issued to government employees, citing security concerns.

Company’s efforts to reassure consumers

TikTok reportedly said it has spent over $1.5 billion on data security efforts under “Project Texas”, which currently has nearly 1,500 full-time employees and is contracted with Oracle to store TikTok’s US user data, Reuters report said.

It also disclosed it rigorously screens content that could harm children.

However, Chew told US lawmakers a the House hearing that China-based employees at ByteDance may still have access to some US data, but that new data will stop flowing once the firm completes its Project Texas plan.

Chew Thursday informed the US lawmakers that “ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government and is a private company.

“We believe what’s needed are clear transparent rules that apply broadly to all tech companies — ownership is not at the core of addressing these concerns.”

As the company faces scrutiny from several countries, TikTok has repeatedly claimed that China does not have access to the data of its users, report stated.

Even though the company has been seen downplaying its China links, Beijing has made it clear that it would “strongly oppose” a forced sale of TikTok.

Meanwhile, thousands of creators who depend on TikTok to connect with their followers in cyberspace, are closely following the recent developments as regards the future of the technology company.

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