TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short-form videos. It was developed by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is also the parent company of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. TikTok has become incredibly popular, particularly among younger generations, and has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally.
However, TikTok has also faced a number of controversies, particularly in relation to its handling of user data and alleged ties to the Chinese government. In the United States, there have been concerns that TikTok could be used to collect data on American citizens, and in August 2020, former President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning TikTok unless it was sold to a US-based company.
ByteDance has denied any wrongdoing and has been working to address concerns about data privacy and security. In December 2020, ByteDance announced a deal to sell TikTok’s US operations to Oracle and Walmart, but the deal was never finalized. In February 2021, the Biden administration paused efforts to force the sale of TikTok, citing the need to review security risks posed by Chinese technology.
In March 2021, ByteDance agreed to pay $92 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged TikTok collected user data without their consent. The company also announced plans to open a “transparency center” in the US to allow outside experts to review its data privacy practices.
The United States Congress has been closely monitoring TikTok’s activities and has held hearings on the app’s data privacy and security practices. In March 2020, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the national security implications of TikTok. In July 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices.
The situation with TikTok and ByteDance is ongoing, and it remains to be seen how the company will address concerns about data privacy and security and how the US government will respond.