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TikTok’s Popularity Soars Despite Regulatory Scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Justice is attempting to prevent TikTok from being banned in America.

The Department of Justice has decided to hold meetings to persuade senators that instead of an outright ban on TikTok, the app should be compulsorily sold to an American company.

One of the key reasons American officials cite for blocking TikTok, which has garnered the most attention, is the collection of sensitive personal data of users. ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, has denied these allegations, stating that the data it receives from users is “less than other apps.” According to Bloomberg, ByteDance explains that having information such as a user’s name, age, phone number, email, IP address, and location is not tantamount to collecting large amounts of sensitive information, as other companies typically also gather such data to provide online services.

ByteDance stated in its statement: “Unlike some competitors, TikTok does not compel users to use their real names or inquire about their job status or relationships, and does not require American users to disclose their exact location.”

The Chinese owner of TikTok has claimed that the content recommendation algorithm is hosted on the cloud servers of the American company Oracle, and any changes to it are reviewed and managed by employees of that same company. ByteDance declared: “No government, be it China or the United States, influences the TikTok algorithm.”

The Department of Justice is holding private meetings with senators who are still not convinced of the necessity of banning TikTok in America. The adopted approach emphasizes that TikTok’s continued operation in America is contingent upon ownership by an American company, separate from ByteDance, its Chinese owner.

One concern raised about the U.S. Congress vote is that TikTok only has 6 months to be sold to an American company or investor. Some representatives feel that this timeline is unrealistic and that more time will be needed to find a buyer and complete the necessary transfer process.

TikTok has over 170 million American users and surpassed Facebook and Instagram with 35 and 34 million downloads in 2023, respectively. Its revenue has grown by 40% compared to 2022.

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