When people think of TikTok these days, the thought everyone thinks is: Will the United States ban it? Earlier this month, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the government is considering this. Last night, President Donald Trump also said the government is considering it.
But will they finally pull the plug?
The Zuckerberg fight
One person who could enjoy the death of TikTok is Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO has left no stone unturned to take photos with the short video app while developing competing products.
[Read: Congress fumbles through antitrust hearing with big tech CEOs]
In an internal meeting, Zuckerberg discussed plans to beat TikTok, which was an experimental product called Lasso. However, Facebook shutdown Lasso earlier this month. Now the company has put on Instagram̵
Reels was first launched in Brazil last November as a test. However, the company expanded it to India once the country banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok.
Kevin Mayer, the newly appointed global CEO of TikTok, isn’t happy with Zuckerberg’s antics. In a blog post, he said that Facebook is launching another copycat product after Lasso failed:
Facebook even launches another copycat product, Reels (linked to Instagram) after the other copycat lasso quickly failed. But let’s focus on fair and open competition serving our consumers instead of slandering our competitor’s attacks – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to end our presence in the United States.
The Facebook CEO has also been continually concerned with TikTok’s Chinese ownership, and last year he said the app was a “threat to democracy”. Yesterday, at the congressional hearing, Zuckerberg avoided answering questions directly as to whether Facebook was copying products. He did not hesitate to say that China is copying technology from US companies.
Mayers’disguised as patriotism, the commentary comments exactly this behavior by Zuckerberg.
Challenge to prove his non-Chinese relationships
For TikTok, survival depends on how it can prove that it is not returning data to China. Despite the allegations of removing content criticizing China, the short video app has repeatedly stated that the country’s government has no access to their data. Last year, it was said that data from American users in the United States would be stored with a backup data center in Singapore.
In the meantime, TikTok’s owner Bytedance is considering how to prove it. One idea that is reportedly being discussed is to move TikTok’s headquarters from China. Heck, the company’s investors have even considered selling. Yesterday, Reuters reported that it valued the popular app at $ 50 billion.
TikTok recently launched a $ 200 million creator fund in the United States to support the careers of aspiring content makers. The company even said last night that it expects this fund to grow to over $ 1 billion in the next three years. The company even plans to hire more than 10,000 people in the U.S. over a similar period.
It will be interesting to know if Trump is thinking about the election as he thinks about getting the TikTok moving. The last time he met TikTokers was when many teenagers booked tickets for his rally on the platform and did not show up.
On the other hand, Kevin Rose of the New York Times makes a convincing argument not to ban TikTok, but to force TikTok to make its operations transparent. He argues that steps such as national security reviews, regular data reviews, and opening internal moderation guidelines can make the platform more secure.
Now it’s up to TikTok to convince the US government to run its viral meme machine.
Phew, hey you!
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