The hearing to decide TikTok’s future in the US was held again two nights ago. Many legislators from different states in the US joined the hearing, which was held by the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US House of Representatives. They mostly talked about how TikTok protects American data privacy and how to keep kids safe online. Hearings could be new to you. In reality, before certain laws and policies are passed, hearings are often used in the United States to gather info and views from all sides.
TikTok went through hearings twice during the Trump regime but never sent anyone to attend. This hearing differs from previous ones in that TikTok CEO Zhou Shouzi, who has often kept a low profile, made an early notice of his attendance this time. So, with TikTok’s presence, there was a lot of interest, especially from China. A reporter from MyDrivers said he had to stay up all night to watch the five-hour hearing. Unfortunately, for him, the entire process was so boring that he had to virtually save himself from a mental breakdown.
Poorly done “political” hearing
The reporter claims that he didn’t see or hear many verbal duels between high-ranking officials. Rather, it was more of a political discourse and even a few pretty basic queries. For instance, a legislator asked repeatedly about TikTok’s earnings. But Zhou Shouzi made it plain that TikTok is not listed and does not have to reveal its financial info to the public.
Similarly, some councillors inquired about Zhou Shouzi’s personal relationships. But Zhou Shouzi claimed to be unfamiliar with Zhang Yiming. There were also congressmen who were just saying ” can I view drug-related videos on TikTok but not on Douyin in China?”
Because China is not like the United States, where drug control is tougher, Zhou Shouzi later replied. In addition to these intelligence-decreasing problems, this hearing is rife with predetermined stances and verbal combat.
Rogers, who presided over the session, had already set the mood for the following five hours at the outset. She stated clearly in her opening remarks: “Your platform should be banned.”. It is clear why, even prior to the hearing, Zhou Shouzi was labelled as “fighting a war he cannot win” by the US media.
Questions from all spheres
The congressmen, therefore, did their best to bombard TikTok badly for as long as 5 hours. The arguments were the same. They were arguing that there is an issue with privacy protection and that kids are highly susceptible to being misled by TikTok.
Don’t worry, TikTok’s privacy protection is already at the top of the industry, and measures to safeguard children have also been enhanced, Zhou Shouzi constantly stated. He also repeatedly said that the company is working on a new firewall. He had to repeat that many times because the U.S. congressmen kept asking the same questions over and over again.
The legislators were unable to provide any solid evidence when asked about “how to ensure that the data of TikTok users in the United States is isolated from the parent company’s ByteDance,” but they consistently disregarded Zhou Shouzi’s repeated reminders that “it is all assumptions and theories.”
The reps listed several instances on the platform of “protecting user privacy and children from online damage” before turning their noses up and arguing that TikTok is too problematic.
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Further, it unfairly distorts the industry-wide practice of gathering user data collection by implying that TikTok monitors and targets kids.
What’s even more shocking is that politicians frequently pose ludicrous questions or demand that TikTok make absurd promises, and then restrict Zhou Shouzi to a yes-or-no response.
They would have scolded Zhou Shouzi for avoiding issues and practising Tai Chi if he weren’t a “diode”. More often than not, members of Congress will ramble on and on for the entirety of their 5-minute question period, denying Zhou Funding any chance to respond and directly defining TikTok.
Despite still, Zhou Shouzi’s evasion was compared to Zuckerberg’s by the House of Representatives (in 2018, Zuckerberg participated in a Senate hearing on issues such as Facebook privacy leaks). Nonetheless, it was so heated that I nearly lost it several times, the reporter claims. Perhaps many people are wondering why TikTok must bite the bullet and take part in this hearing when it is obvious that it will be humiliating. The main reason is that at the time, the push to ban TikTok within the US government has hit its greatest height in three years. Both parties have ditched their past doubts and joined hands to advance legislation.
U.S. government retain Trump’s idea
Trump’s wave of operations on TikTok failed at the end of 2020, but the US government did not abandon Trump’s concept.
Though it appeared that the Biden govt had revoked Trump’s decision in June 2021, in reality, it is only warming up. They have been doing numerous investigations on TikTok in recent years.
Politicians, govt officials, and scholars have all been swayed by the outside world to propagate the TikTok threat idea. It’s even absurd that American experts claim that Chinese kids study and advance on the Chinese version of TikTok (Douyin). However, American teenagers are infected by TikTok and become addicted to dancing and pleasure.
These actions, however, were unable to halt TikTok’s growth in the US. About half of Americans now use TikTok, which has risen in popularity since it was introduced three years ago. Because of this, the Biden team saw the need to directly outlaw TikTok through legislation. It started using the state apparatus to present several ideas at the end of last year. The “Omnibus Spending Act” from late last year made it clear that TikTok should not be used on federal government property.
Eventually, numerous state governments in the United States followed suit one after another. In fact, they even spread this wave to the rest of the world. This is in addition to the federal govt’s ban. TikTok has been banned by many governments today, including those in Canada, the UK, and the EU.
Sell your shares or get banned
The Biden admin made no secret of it last week. “We will prohibit you if the Chinese owner of TikTok does not sell the shares”. At the moment, 20% of the company’s shares are owned by staff and 60% are held by foreign investors. Yeah, the founder Zhang Yiming owns the remaining 20%.
The U.S. govt actually has nothing good to hold TikTok. It just wants to ban TikTok. It is not happy that a Chinese company is doing well in the U.S. If Xiaomi phones start spreading through the depths of the U.S., it will be met with Huawei’s fate. TikTok has done almost all it can do in the past three years.
More than that, they also handed over the approval rights of some TikTok businesses to third parties. Some of these parties include the U.S. govt. and its allies. TikTok has spent more than $1.5 billion on the “Texas on the Cloud” project. It will also spend at least $1 billion every year in the future. With these moves, TikTok’s privacy protection measures have surpassed any peers on the market. However, this does not impress the Biden govt. because they have a goal. Anything short of that goal is not acceptable. This hearing is just a show, and the ending has nothing to do with the facts.
At the moment, we can not tell the final decision of the U.S. govt. But one thing is sure, the govt. needs to ban TikTok in a way that appears legal. Also, TikTok might not go away anytime soon, it may just change owners. The U.S. govt. badly wants its Chinese owners out but wants to make it happen subtly.
who cares about tiktok ? zombies defending private companies that have nothing to do with them are just drones. TikTok can die, another app will replace it the week after.
I might not really use the app and all, but with the current facts, it obviously looks like the US govt is just looking for an excuse to ban Tiktok. I see the Huawei saga all over, which is really sad. The users of the platform in the US should have a say in this. Are the users complaining? In what way has Tiktok messed up that other US-owned social networks haven’t? but we are waiting for the final verdict though…but it’s still sad.