Leaked docs suggests someone is reading TikTok user records, but not who you think

Aug 28, 2023
Media apps TicTok, against the background of a laptop. Blurred background. Selective focus.

The US government secretly told TikTok that it would not be banned in the country – if it allowed American agents access to the records of TikTok users, Forbes reported.

TikTok has a billion users worldwide, with 150 million in the United States.

Earlier, US politicians accused the company of being a Chinese “Trojan horse” siphoning the personal data of its users to China. This was false — the company is a copy of Chinese app called Douyin but TikTok is majority owned by US investors and none of its data goes to China. The servers are in the US and Singapore.

In terms of free market capitalism, the attacks on TikTok were deeply unfair—but the leaked document indicates that US agents decided that it would allow the app to live if they could have access to TikTok’s records.

“Many of the concessions the government asked of TikTok look eerily similar to the surveillance tactics critics have accused Chinese officials of abusing,” Gizmondo reported.

The story broke when a Forbes journalist obtained a draft of a deal between TikTok and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The secret agreement called for TikTok to give access to its operations to the Pentagon and the Department of Justice, Forbes reported.

“To allay fears the short-form video app could be used as a Chinese surveillance tool, the federal government nearly transformed it into an American one instead,” Gizmondo said.

TikTok pushed back against some of the demands of the US agencies, the documents reveal. One clause allowed the US government to shut down the whole system. The demands from the government side went far beyond the demands made on other social media companies.

However, it is not known how the debate continued and what sort of final agreement may have been signed between TikTok and the US administration.

In the meantime, TikTok users may like to be aware that records of their activity may well be being perused by government agents.

But not from China.


Reposted from a Facebook Post by Nury Vittachi of FridayEveryDay.

You may also be interested in the article below by Forbes:

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