David Pierce on Source Code’s big story today, ‘Nobody knows what to do with TikTok’:
[…] Two seemingly mutually exclusive things happened yesterday: TikTok pulled out of Hong Kong over concerns about the Chinese government, and the U.S. threatened to kick TikTok out of America … over concerns about the Chinese government. […]
That’s the thing about TikTok: Who does know? It’s owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, but doesn’t operate in China, has an American CEO in Kevin Mayer, and swears up and down that it doesn’t share data with the Chinese government. “Our data centers are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law,” it said last year.
I don’t trust China, and TikTok’s appointment of Kevin Mayer has done little to convince me otherwise. I’d hate think Mayer is a political puppet for China, but, maybe? Either way, without more evidence, calls to ban TikTok in the US are foolish and prone to backfire. Educating Americans on where TikTok comes from, and who you’re supporting by using the app, would be much more effective. I seriously doubt many of the kids on TikTok know there’s a Chinese company behind the app.