US lawmakers are asking TikTok about its ties to ByteDance after recent executive transfers between the companies

By RockedBuzz 5 Min Read

US lawmakers have written a letter to TikTok questioning its independence from Chinese dad or mum firm ByteDance, in the wake of a recent Wall St. Journal report this discovered that a number of high-level executives had been moved from ByteDance to TikTok, the place they took on high roles inside the group. The report notes that former ByteDance executives now maintain key positions in promoting, human sources, monetization, enterprise advertising and different areas associated to TikTok’s e-commerce initiatives.

The letter, written by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), calls for that TikTok clarify why it employed a number of ByteDance executives, “further calling into question the independence of TikTok’s operations and security of its activities. US user information,” they wrote.

The WSJ report on the transfers means that the motion of workers between the two organizations signifies that TikTok nonetheless maintains shut ties to its Beijing-based dad or mum firm, regardless of the video social community’s try to distance itself from its Chinese roots – and relevant legal guidelines which will apply. whether or not the Chinese authorities pressured TikTok for its information or used the app to unfold CCP propaganda.

TikTok, nonetheless, has persistently maintained its independence from China, together with by transferring US person information to Oracle servers in the US, in hopes of avoiding a US-wide TikTok ban.

However, issues about TikTok’s ties to China have led to a ban on the app on a variety of US government-issued gadgets, together with these utilized by the US House of Representatives and various American states. Montana additionally turned the first US state to ban TikTok on private gadgets, whereas New York City this summer season turned the newest authorities to ban TikTok from city-owned gadgets this summer season, following a statewide ban in 2020.

In the new letter, the senators identified that TikTok workers additionally discovered the transfers “alarming” and reportedly joked that “TikTok is fixing its downside with ByteDance by transferring ByteDance to the United States.” distinctive safety and privateness danger” to US person information and referenced earlier experiences the place TikTok had been discovered spy on American journalistsFor instance.

TikTok, in the meantime, had promised US officers that there could be a firewall between it and its dad or mum firm with the storage of US customers’ information on US soil overseen by a US firm, the letter continued. But the transfers recommend that TikTok is “trying to protect ByteDance’s affect on TikTok whereas avoiding suspicion,” it stated.

TikTok has till October 13 to reply to varied questions posed by lawmakers about worker transfers. The full textual content of the letter can be read herewhich incorporates questions about worker transfers, the roles workers now fill and whether or not any of the adjustments had been disclosed to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) prior to the WSJ report, amongst different issues.

The CFIUS review of TikTok started in 2019, when the Trump administration was contemplating a nationwide ban. The company has the energy to pressure TikTok to halt its operations in the United States as a substitute of banning them if it doesn’t consider the mitigation measures TikTok has taken — similar to switching to Oracle servers — provide ample safety.

“In a large global organization, it is not uncommon for employees to work across different products or geographies throughout their careers,” TikTok stated in an announcement. “This is not a recent development, nor is it exclusive to TikTok. We welcome the opportunity to provide senators with facts and context that the Journal chose to ignore in their initial story.”

Updated 10/23/23, 3:46pm ET with commentary from TikTok.

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