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TikTok Bans Inch Closer in the US and EU

The TikTok Bans Inch Closer in the US and EU

As pressure mounts on TikTok, as it faces potential bans in the US and Europe due to concerns over its exposure to CCP, the company has launched new efforts to win over policymakers in both regions, hoping to avoid further bans and billions in lost revenue.

The concerted efforts underscore how dire the situation has become for the company, which is also facing potential restrictions in Canada and Australia. And indeed, if one region shuts it down, it seems increasingly likely that others will follow, which could be a virtual death blow for the app.

First, in Europe – TikTok‘s European staff have launched a new effort to win over EU regulators by outlining a plan to ensure European user data is stored only in its Ireland data center and not accessible by Chinese staff.

The program, dubbed Project Clover, is being approached by EU officials in the hope of avoiding further action in the region.

In the US, meanwhile, TikTok has launched a similar campaign called ‘Project Texas’, which seeks to highlight how US user data will similarly be cut off from outside interference.

TikTok has been working on that plan for some time, and it claims has already spent more than a billion dollars on development. But still, that’s not enough reassurance for some officials, with Senator Josh Hawley noting this week that employees at TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could easily access US user data and would likely still be able to do so while the company is under Chinese ownership.

Hawley is one of several prominent voices calling for a total ban of the app in the US, while FBI Director Christopher Wray also reiterated his concerns about the app this week.

This is a tool that is ultimately under the control of the Chinese government and to me that screams national security concern.

The way has raised similar concerns in the past, as have other prominent security experts, prompting a new bill that would enable President Biden to ban the app outright, if he chooses.

The bill, which has now been officially introduced, moves it one step closer to becoming a reality – and brings TikTok one step closer to a US ban.

And the pressure is starting to show this week, it called on top manufacturers to show their support for the app by appearing in Washington to highlight its importance to US lawmakers.

The trip will include side-by-side with creators and the TikTok team in the US capital to showcase the positive impact of TikTok.

It’s an extreme move, and with US/China relations fraying amid concerns over spy balloons and China’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, pressure on TikTok has clearly reached critical levels.

And it looks like we’re going to get some sort of conclusion, in some form or another, sometime soon.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month, and that is likely to dictate the next steps in both the US and Europe.

If Chew’s answers are satisfactory, and he’s able to confirm that US user data is safe, maybe TikTok will stay, but if not which, on balance, seems more likely it looks like TikTok will be under threat.

The next steps would be a complete ban, or a quick sale of the app, which happened around 2020 when former President Donald Trump wanted to force TikTok into US ownership.

It could still be on the cards, which could eventually see a total split of the app’s operations into US, European and Chinese entities.

Essentially, TikTok’s fate is in the hands of the CCP, which doesn’t seem close to improving foreign relations anytime soon. And if they go bad, TikTok could quickly lose touch with its millions of users.

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