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Chinese-owned social media giant hopes new transparency plan will keep it from getting banned in US


Daily Caller News Foundation

The popular Chinese-owned company TikTok is planning to give United States officials oversight of the app’s algorithm in an attempt to increase transparency, The Wall Street Journal reported.

TikTok’s proposal would allow its algorithm to be monitored by U.S.-based company Oracle and third parties who would determine whether or not the codes had been manipulated or if the Chinese government had access, according to the WSJ. The proposal would also establish the TikTok U.S. Data Security (USDS) which would protect user data and report to a board of directors under the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS).

The proposal would staff 2,500 people on the USDS and would follow requirements established by the United States government as well as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which safeguards national security by regulating the export of military and defense technology. Chinese nationals would not be permitted to work on the USDS in accordance with the regulation, the WSJ reported.

TikTok’s push to increase transparency in the United States comes on the heels of calls to ban the platform on government-owned devices because of national security concerns. For years, lawmakers have expressed concern that China could use the app to influence the content that is exposed to U.S. citizens and that Americans’ personal information could be exposed to Beijing.

The proposal is an attempt to show U.S. officials that the app can function outside of Chinese-based ByteDance Ltd, TikTok’s parent company. A TikTok spokesperson, however, told the WSJ that the app is not waiting for an agreement in order to implement changes to ease concern about the app.

“We’ve made substantial progress on implementing that solution over the past year and look forward to completing that work to put these concerns to rest,” the spokesperson said.

In total, TikTok spent nearly $1.5 billion to set up the Oracle data center, move coding and hire third-party monitors, according to the WSJ. If TikTok and U.S. officials reach a deal, the expenses could tally an additional $700 million to $1 billion.

The app also rerouted all of its traffic through Oracle since summer 2022, the WSJ reported. The proposal would delete the backup data through an audited process.

The U.S. government may force ByteDance Ltd to leave the market or “sell parts of its operation” if the deal fails, according to the WSJ.

TikTok, Oracle and the U.S. Department of Treasury, which oversees CFIUS, did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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