Why TikTok encountered a global “wave” of boycotts

Why TikTok encountered a global “wave” of boycotts


2023-03-22 01:33:39

In recent months, lawmakers in the US, Europe and Canada have been stepping up efforts to ban TikTok, ByteDance’s short video sharing app, for security reasons. On February 27, the White House informed federal agencies that they had 30 days to remove the app from government devices. The UK, Canada and some EU organizations have also recently banned TikTok on public devices.

The US House of Representatives even passed a bill that would allow the Biden administration to ban TikTok nationwide.

“Wave” boycott TikTok

India has banned TikTok since mid-2020, causing ByteDance to lose one of its biggest markets. India accuses TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps of secretly transferring user data to servers abroad.

TikTok was temporarily banned in some countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan for spreading content that authorities deemed inappropriate.

Meanwhile, the current popular trend is to ban TikTok on public devices. Many countries have joined the list such as Canada, EU, UK, Belgium.

In 2020, former US President Donald Trump sought to force ByteDance to sell US TikTok to a domestic company, otherwise ban TikTok on app markets. However, after ByteDance filed a lawsuit, Mr. Trump’s efforts were unsuccessful.

Since November 2022, half of the US states have banned TikTok on public devices. Some universities also ban TikTok from their Wi-Fi networks. The military, navy, air force and coast guard have blocked TikTok for 3 years. However, the ban does not apply to personal devices. Students also only need to switch to a data connection to use TikTok.

This week, TikTok admitted that the administration of US President Joe Biden wanted ByteDance to sell the app if it did not want to be banned. Over the years, TikTok has entered into negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to address concerns about the company’s relations with China, as well as how it handles data. In August 2022, TikTok submitted a 90-page proposal detailing an action plan in the US.

TikTok CEO will testify before the US Congress next week. Here, the Energy and Trade Commission will question TikTok’s data security and privacy practices, as well as its relationship with China.

To reassure the US authorities, TikTok has taken a number of measures such as transferring all US user data to Oracle’s cloud. According to Reuters, TikTok also allows Oracle to inspect some of the application’s source code. Oracle is also tasked with ensuring TikTok’s technology infrastructure is independent of ByteDance.

Why do countries want to ban TikTok?

Lawmakers and regulators fear TikTok and its parent company ByteDance could give such sensitive user data to the Chinese authorities. China’s national security law requires domestic enterprises to provide data if necessary. TikTok denies these allegations and insists they operate independently, not under the control of anyone.

In addition, they are also worried about the amount of data that TikTok collects. In December 2022, ByteDance said it had fired four employees who accessed the data of two journalists from BuzzFeed News and The Financial Times while investigating an internal leak. TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter called the behavior a “serious abuse” of employee authority.

Besides, TikTok also suffers from concerns about harmful content and harmful effects on the mental health of teenagers. In a report late last year, researchers from the Cyber ​​Hate Center found that eating disorder content on the platform attracted 13.2 billion views.

Despite permanently locking the offending account, TikTok still allows users to create new accounts and re-upload content immediately. In addition, accounts that get back wrong content are not handled.

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