With the specter of a US ban looming, TikTok is seeking to underline its worth to the US financial system, by way of a brand new initiative by way of which the platform will spotlight how SMBs are utilizing the app to attach with their prospects, and the neighborhood, to construct their enterprise.
The brand new ‘TikTok Sparks Good’ docu-series will share a variety of quick tales ‘that commemorate the varied and inspirational creator success that transcend past TikTok to create actual life change’.
Which, ostensibly, celebrates these creators and the successes that they’re seeing within the app. But it surely’s additionally a reasonably clear automobile by way of which to probably sway to US regulators who could also be contemplating whether or not to ban the app.
And TikTok’s laying it on pretty thick:
“TikTok is a spot the place People can rework not solely their very own lives, however the lives of others. From first technology youngsters saving their dad or mum’s small companies to creators rallying the neighborhood to assist our veterans, TikTok is the place anybody can construct neighborhood, join, educate, and create financial alternative. We’re amazed by the facility of the TikTok neighborhood and the way it makes the platform a catalyst for good.”
I imply, that’s not not true, however on the similar time, TikTok has additionally been the supply of a variety of harmful trends, destructive psychological impacts for teens, exploitation, misinformation, and so on.
Whether or not the platform is a web constructive or destructive isn’t totally clear – whereas that query inside itself isn’t a part of the evaluation as as to if TikTok ought to be allowed to proceed working within the US both means.
That comes all the way down to the app’s hyperlinks to China, and the provisions with China’s cybersecurity legal guidelines which stipulate that Chinese language-owned companies should share consumer knowledge with the CCP on request.
There’s nothing to recommend that the CCP has requested akin to but, nor that TikTok has offered it. However the concern is that TikTok may very well be used as a instrument for spying on US residents, by utilizing TikTok knowledge to trace their actions, or glean private details about customers with a view to use that as leverage.
For essentially the most half, that will appear to be a lesser concern – why would the Chinese language Authorities need to goal individuals primarily based on their hokey TikTok clips?
However it may be an issue.
Late final 12 months, it was revealed that representatives from TikTok’s dad or mum firm ByteDance had used TikTok knowledge to track the movements of US journalists, in a bid to find which ByteDance workers could also be leaking data to the press.
As reported by The Financial Times:
“Over the summer season, 4 workers on the ByteDance inner audit group seemed into the sharing of inner data to journalists. Two members of employees within the US and two in China gained entry to the IP addresses and different private knowledge of FT journalist Cristina Criddle, to work out if she was within the proximity of any ByteDance workers, the corporate stated.”
That is the important thing concern across the misuse of TikTok knowledge, and on this context, the growing bans of the app on government-owned devices is sensible, as that may very well be used as a vector to trace individuals’s actions, and monitor who they’re assembly with.
For presidency workers, who could also be in possession of delicate data, there’s a transparent danger right here. So whereas it might not appear to be a significant concern to the on a regular basis TikTok consumer who’s posting random jokes and dance clips, there’s a extra sinister aspect, which may very well be of concern, particularly amid rising tensions between China and numerous different nations.
So whereas TikTok is doing all that it may to focus on its worth, it’s really extra of an apart, and not likely related to the main focus of the broader ban discussions.
However that does appear to be the main focus right here. And whereas it’s attention-grabbing to notice the assorted methods during which TikTok has helped these SMBs, it appears pretty clear what the intention is on this respect.
Both means, you may tune into the brand new ‘TikTok Sparks Good’ tales here, which might encourage you to assist these companies, or provide you with new concepts in your personal TikTok promotion efforts.