NEWS21 September 2020

TikTok averts US ban with business reforms

New business News North America Privacy

US – Social media video app TikTok has reached an agreement with the US government to avert a ban in the country following tensions over the firm’s Chinese ownership.

smartphone screen showing tiktok app and other social media icons

TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, has agreed to set up a new company, TikTok Global, to run its US business and has committed to launching a future initial public offering (IPO).

As part of the agreement, cloud and technology provider Oracle and US supermarket giant Walmart will take part in a financing round where they can both acquire up to 20% of the company.

TikTok, which had faced a ban on the platform in the US from 12 November amid concerns US about whether it could be sharing data with the Chinese government, said the agreement would abide by previous arrangements agreed with the US.

The changes have been agreed by US president Donald Trump, who has been sharply critical of the platform’s links to China and consequently sought to ban TikTok.

In the past year TikTok has also taken steps to increase transparency, including hiring a US chief security officer, launching a Transparency and Accountability Centre to allow researchers to inspect its algorithm, code and moderation practices, and publishing its first transparency reports.

Vanessa Pappas, interim head of TikTok, said: “While we strongly disagree with the implications of TikTok as a national security threat, we nonetheless understand the concerns.

“We’re pleased that today we’ve confirmed a proposal that resolves the administration’s security concerns and settles questions around TikTok’s future in the US.”