President Trump and the US government have been considering banning TikTok, due to concerns over its ties to China and its access to user data. The threat of a TikTok ban leads to availability of a massive US data base. A lot of tech-companies are already trying, with new apps to capitalize on this.
The Antitrust Hearing
Last Wednesday, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer slammed Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, just hours before his congressional antitrust hearing. Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon, were supposed to attend this hearing.
This antitrust hearing is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of investigation, to determine the extent to which these companies and their businesses are harming smaller competitors. The giants were to be grilled on potential violations of antitrust laws. However, even as the lawmakers and tech giants are in a face-off, they have managed to find a common ground in their battle against TikTok. TikTok isn’t part of the hearing, but it is expected that its name will be brought up repeatedly
Zuckerberg, for example, mentioned in his testimony, that China is “building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.” His testimony also reads, “we got there the American way: we started with nothing and provided better products that people find valuable.”
Mayer hits back:
In his blog, Kevin Mayer shot back at Facebook. He mentioned that TikTok welcomes competition and “To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on.” He also mentinoned about Facebook launching Reels (tied to Instagram), after their ‘other copycat Lasso failed quickly.’
He took a dig at Zuckerberg’s statements, saying that he would like to focus energy on fair and open competition rather than maligning attacks, disguised as patriotism. Mayer also mentioned that without Tiktok, American advertisers would be left with few choices. He also stated that without Tiktok, competition would dry up, leaving no outlet for creativity.
Lately, Tiktok has been under increasing scrutiny, due to its Chinese ownership. Mayer, in his blog, also mentioned that TikTok isn’t policital and does not accept political advertising. Mark Zuckerberg, had last year, accused the app of censoring political protest, which has been denied by TikTok.
He also stated that TikTok’s objective is to remain a ‘vibrant, dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy.’
As part of the lobbying effort, Mayer also mentioned that the company is willing to take steps to ensure long-term success of TikTok. He assured safety of the platform for its users. Moreover, he also mentioned that TikTok is launching a Transparency and Accountability Center for moderation and data practices. Moderation policies will be available for observation in real-time, and algorithm codes will be available for examination.
Mayer, addressing skeptics, mentioned that TikTok’s onus is to step up. Mayer decided to join TikTok because it brought competition to the marketplace according to him.
This promise of transparency might not work out with the President’s word of banning this app.
Originally posted 2020-08-02 17:24:11.