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Politics TikTok Parent Spends Record on Lobbying as U.S. Pressure Rises

03:31  21 july  2020
03:31  21 july  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

Wells Fargo reportedly bars employees from using TikTok on company mobile devices

  Wells Fargo reportedly bars employees from using TikTok on company mobile devices It’s the latest company to raise concerns about TikTok securityIt’s the latest company to raise security concerns about employees using the popular video-sharing app, which hit 2 billion downloads in April. On Friday, Amazon said it sent an email “in error” to employees asking them to remove TikTok from mobile devices with Amazon email addresses. The company later clarified that there had been “no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.

TikTok , the popular music-video app, is building up its fledgling lobbying operations to counter stepped-up pressure in Washington over its Chinese ownership and wage an escalating battle with TikTok has rejects the notion it’ s controlled by the Chinese government or that U . S . user data is at risk.

(Bloomberg) -- TikTok , the popular music-video app, is building up its fledgling lobbying operations to counter stepped-up pressure in Washington over its Chinese ownership and wage an escalating TikTok has rejects the notion it’ s controlled by the Chinese government or that U . S . user data is at risk.

(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese owner of the popular TikTok video app spent a company record on federal lobbying in the second quarter as it fought allegations that it’s funneling Americans’ data to Beijing, according to lobbying disclosures filed with U.S. Congress.

a close up of a laptop computer sitting on top of a keyboard: The logo for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from Hong Kong's mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S. © Bloomberg The logo for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from Hong Kong's mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.

Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. spent $500,000 in the three months ended June 30, up from its previous record of $300,000 in the first quarter, according to the company’s lobbying disclosure Monday.

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  Navarro Says More U.S. Action on TikTok, WeChat to Be Expected White House adviser Peter Navarro said he expects President Donald Trump to take “strong action” against Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat for engaging in “information warfare” against the U.S. © Bloomberg The logo for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from Hong Kong's mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.

TikTok ' s plan to base its international HQ in the UK has been thrown into doubt following pressure by Washington over the Chinese firm' s future in the US. But the US is considering banning TikTok and may only allow it to keep operating if it splits from China and becomes an American company.

Owned by Bytedance, TikTok opened an office in Australia in recent weeks. Offices of both the Home Affairs and Attorney-General are discussing Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was "having a good look" at TikTok , which has also fallen under U . S . scrutiny for "national security risks".

TikTok is responding to an onslaught of pressure from U.S. politicians over its Chinese roots -- tension that has escalated in third quarter, including calls by President Donald Trump to consider banning the app entirely and proposed legislation to disallow downloads on government-issued mobile devices.

TikTok also faces a national security investigation into the 2017 purchase of Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app it later merged with TikTok, as well as a parallel probe by the administration, which could culminate within weeks, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters last week. The company has also attracted inquiries by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department over its data-collection practices, according to a consumer advocate who said he spoke to the enforcers about the company.

TikTok’s biggest problem is outside its control

  TikTok’s biggest problem is outside its control Ultimately, the fate of the ByteDance-owned app belongs to two global superpowersLast week I wrote about some of the forces putting the squeeze on TikTok — and, uncharacteristically for me when I write about TikTok, the course of events did not immediately reverse and put TikTok into a stronger position. Instead, by several measures, the situation for ByteDance’s popular video app got significantly worse.

Owned by Bytedance, TikTok opened an office in Australia in recent weeks. Offices of both the Home Affairs and Attorney-General are discussing Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was "having a good look" at TikTok , which has also fallen under U . S . scrutiny for "national security risks".

Over the past 12 months, TikTok ’ s app has been downloaded more than 750 million times.Credit Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

ByteDance, which was founded in China and is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, has repeatedly denied accusations that TikTok harvests data for the Chinese government and says it stores Americans’ data in the U.S. and Singapore, not in China.

More popular than ever with hundreds of millions of people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, teens have used the app to organize efforts to disrupt Trump’s re-election campaign. TikTok also has become a political pawn in the fight between Washington and Beijing: Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have said a ban on TikTok could be one form of retaliation over China’s handling of the coronavirus.

The TikTok app has been downloaded 2 billion times globally, including 165 million times in the U.S., according to data provider Sensor Tower. That makes TikTok even more politically important as users weigh in on issues like race and the upcoming presidential election.

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The lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry spent record millions on its lobbying activities in 2018. This follows moves by Congress and the White House that may force them to limit their price increases -- and profits -- on medicines.

Tik Tok logo is displayed on the smartphone while standing on the U . S . flag in this illustration. TikTok has been hiring more U . S . engineers to reduce its reliance on staff in China, and has set up a team in Mountain View, California to oversee data management, sources familiar with the matter have

ByteDance, which only began lobbying last year, said in the filing that it worked on “issues related to internet technology and learning-enabled content platforms” and lobbied Congress and the executive office of the president, which includes key White House offices focused on economics and security.

It also lobbied on privacy and content moderation, according to a disclosure from Monument Advocacy, one of the company’s outside firms.

TikTok has been building up its lobbying muscle as it attempts to distance itself from its Chinese ties and convince American politicians that it’s just a fun-loving consumer app. Former Walt Disney Co. executive Kevin Mayer became TikTok’s first American chief executive officer in June and the company earlier this month discussed plans to create a new global TikTok headquarters outside of China, in addition to potential changes to its management structure.

TikTok’s Washington lobbying blitz started last year with efforts to broker meetings between company executives and high-profile senators. Since then, it’s amassed a 35-person Washington operation and hired longtime policy hands to make its case to American politicians. It named Michael Beckerman, the former president of the Internet Association trade group, to run its policy shop, and hired David Urban, a senior adviser to Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, as an outside lobbyist. Both are registered as working for ByteDance.

TikTok is being threatened with a ban in Pakistan over 'immoral' content, less than a month after it was banned in India

  TikTok is being threatened with a ban in Pakistan over 'immoral' content, less than a month after it was banned in India Pakistan's telecoms regulator issued TikTok with a "final warning," threatening to ban it over complaints about "immoral, obscene and vulgar content."The warning came after Pakistan blocked live streaming app Bigo. "On complaints of immoral, obscene and vulgar content, streaming app Bigo has been blocked in Pakistan. TikTok has also been served with final warning on same grounds," Pakistan's telecoms regulator, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), said in a statement on Monday.

TikTok ’ s parent company ByteDance said in a statement that U . S . user data is stored domestically and that the app’ s content and moderation policies in the U . S . are led by a U . S .-based team not influenced by the ByteDance repeatedly declined to make executives available for on-the- record interviews.

TikTok will change the way your social media works — even if you’re avoiding it. Hashtags play a surprisingly large role on TikTok . In more innocent times, Twitter hoped its users might congregate around hashtags in a never-ending series of productive pop-up mini-discourses.

ByteDance has also hired former top staff to Republican and Democratic House leaders and has brought on four outside lobbying firms in the last year.

In one meeting last year with staffers for Republican Senator Marco Rubio, TikTok staff provided conflicting information, including about where data was stored and how TikTok creates its algorithms, a Rubio spokesman said. “Given established connections to China and the inability of the company to answer basic questions from staff about TikTok’s ties to China and how it treats Americans’ user data, our office declined to have the Senator personally meet with them,” the spokesman said.

“There is a huge amount of misinformation on TikTok out there,” the company said in a statement last week, pointing to its American executives and board seats. “TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore, with strict controls on employee access,” TikTok said in that statement. “These are the facts.”

Since April, TikTok reached out to the offices of more than 50 key lawmakers to emphasize its independent American leadership, a person familiar with the company’s Washington operation told Bloomberg.

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Senators urge Justice Department to open investigation into TikTok, Zoom .
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open investigations into social media platform TikTok and video conferencing service Zoom, citing concerns over potential security threats from ties to the Chinese government. In a letter to Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John Demers, Hawley and Blumenthal wrote that they were "extremely concerned" that Zoom and TikTokIn a letter to Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John Demers, Hawley and Blumenthal wrote that they were "extremely concerned" that Zoom and TikTok had potentially disclosed private American information to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and censored content on the C

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