TikTok in China and the United States: pride for some, mistrust for others

The US authorities were suspicious of TikTok, well before the irruption of this Chinese balloon in the American sky: the application is accused, across the Atlantic, of being a tool of espionage and propaganda in the service of Beijing.

Donald Trump, already, had made war on the social network, which has more than 100 million users. A text that prohibits the use of TikTok on the devices of officials in Washington has been voted and many states have also taken similar measures.

The CEO of the application will be heard in Congress, at the end of March a big oral that must give him cold sweats. As Donald Trump had wished, TikTok may well have to separate from its Chinese owner to continue to thrive in the United States.

In China, in Beijing, where the parent company is located, there is no communication on the subject. The information available is given by the American management of TikTok, assuring that the computer servers of the international version are physically separated from the parent company in China, and have been transferred to an American database management system, but according to the Chinese newspaper Caixin, which is generally well informed and enjoys a certain freedom of tone, part of TikTok’s data is still saved on the company’s servers in Singapore, i.e. not very far from China.

The management of TikTok assures that no data is transmitted to the Chinese government. But the social network still explains that all TikTok employees, including those in China, can have access to the data of American users, provided they have passed a series of very strict cybersecurity checks.

The Chinese government could also have access to this information, Bytedance, like all the giants of new technologies being theoretically subject to the control of Chinese authorities and the Communist Party.