TikTok pivots to new countries as US scrutiny increases

TikTok is pivoting to new markets as it tries to distance itself from being labeled a Chinese app.

In an internal memo, Zhang Yiming, CEO of TikTok parent ByteDance, urged the company to focus on adding users in less-popular markets as a means of diversifying TikTok’s growth, according to a Reuters report. Yiming also detailed TikTok’s need to improve user data protection, as well as better manage global public affairs.

TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular social media apps used by American teens. Its rapid growth has caught the eye of the U.S. government, which has zeroed in on the app over fears it poses national security risks. ByteDance now faces a probe from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the investigation could expand to look at any risks generated by the data that TikTok collects.

A new bill introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Monday aims to limit the flow of sensitive data about U.S. users to China. The bill, called the “National Security and Personal Data Protection Act,” targets TikTok and Apple by prohibiting them from storing data on U.S. users in servers located outside the country. It also prevents companies from collecting more user data than is necessary to conduct business.

“Current law makes it far too easy for hostile foreign governments like China to access Americans’ sensitive data,” Hawley said in a statement. “If your child uses TikTok, there’s a chance the Chinese Communist Party knows where they are, what they look like, what their voices sound like, and what they’re watching. That’s a feature TikTok doesn’t advertise.”

Read the full story here: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/18/tiktok-pivots-to-new-countries-as-us-scrutiny-increases.html

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