Nearly three years ago, the Trump administration warned it would prohibit TikTok if it were not sold to American investors by its Chinese owner; the app is currently facing the immense danger of ceasing to exist again.
Shou Chew, the CEO of TikTok, will be testifying before U.S. legislators on Thursday, as various members of Congress have called for the prohibition of the app in the U.S. due to potential threats to national security. Once again, the bluster for sale is getting louder.
The Chinese government has taken into action some advanced technology that includes content recommendation algorithms to be crucial to its national interest. Chinese officials advanced restricting the rules that direct the sale of foreign buyers in December.
“Beijing will have no say in the U.S. decision to approve the sale of TikTok but will retain ultimate authority to approve the such sale,” said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer at Kaiyuan Capital. It seems extremely uncertain that Beijing will accept any agreement removing TikTok’s algorithms from the regulatory authority and direct control.
The algorithms of TikTok are the key to its success and are keeping the users fixed on the app. The algorithms recommend videos based on the user’s demeanor. This way, it pushes videos they want to watch or will like.
In August 2020, Chinese regulators threatened to ban TikTok unless it was sold. Therefore, the company added algorithms to the diminished record of technologies.
Last week, a high-ranking representative of the Chinese authority in charge of overseeing both traditional and digital media visited the premises of ByteDance. He urged the company to improve its use of “recommendation algorithms,”; spread positive energy and tighten controls over online content, according to a statement from the regulator published on its website.
Importance of TikTok Ban
The main concern is National security which means ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok could allow the Chinese government to access the personal information of the service’s 150 million U.S. users.
The federal government has banned its employees from installing apps on official devices, and state governments are increasingly doing the same for security purposes.
There are also worries that TikTok’s video recommendation against the algorithm could advance China’s foreign policy goal further.
However, many speculate these concerns will remain here even if sold to an American buyer.