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Insiders reveals ByteDance and TikTok's Intertwined Relationship

Trump in his time of presidency had banned TikTok in the United States claiming that the association of the Chinese company with their country could be harmful for security reasons.

TikTok, which previously, was Music.ly in the US region was acquired by the Chinese company ByteDance in 2017, has over 19 billion users in the US region alone.

However, while Trumps speculations for security handles were not proven before as TikTok denied having any relationship with its Chinese owners, things have changed now.

A group of employees who work at TikTok, and asked to keep their identities hidden told CNBC that TikTok is deeply associated with ByteDance and the boundaries between the two companies are not much separated, and are mostly intertwined.

What came to the scenario was that while TikTok denied sending any user data of the US users to China, an employee at the company confirmed that the ByteDance office in China holds numerous data information from users of all regions including the States. This was confirmed when the said employee wanted a list of users to target an audience interested in a specific type of content and hash tag, for which he had to get in touch with ByteDance to acquire all that data. This confirmed the hold China has over the US user’s data.

However, the deep rooted links not only stop at the sharing of data. The employees in the interview with CNBC, also said that the US employees of TikTok had to do longer shifts than what their expected job time was, because most of the times ByteDance in China expects the employees in the US to answer their questions and hold meetings on the Chinese working time which on most days makes the US users pull longer shifts.

They also confirmed that the users have two separate emails one for ByteDance and the other for TikTok US and that in some job requirements the company searches for candidates who can work for both simultaneously.

So now that it has been proven that the boundary between ByteDance and TikTok is not intact but is rather blurry and Trumps’ speculations of security problems stand correct, the question arises that what damages could possibly a video making entertainment platform could cause?

TikTok collects a handful of data from the US users, which includes their names, email addresses, locations, the type of content they like and a whole lot of other stuff which can be exploited at any time by ByteDance through the Chinese government.

Apart from this, the security concerns in US are that ByteDance, through TikTok can divert the minds of the users on the wrong track and against their cultural and ethical norm.

However, while Trump had banned TikTok in the US region, Biden after taking over the presidency seat has brought about some changes, in which one of them includes revamping the bans on TikTok and while no decision has been taken as of yet the Biden government should take stronger measures to protect the privacy of their people.


Photo: Imaginechina / AP

Read next: TikTok Executive Claims The Social Network Has Stopped Taking Content Moderation Help From It's China-Based Workforce

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