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TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is facing a contentious grilling on Capitol Hill today regarding privacy and data concerns from the Chinese-backed social media app.
Surprisingly, the pushback has been bipartisan – with nearly every Republican and Democrat uniting in their criticism (some even calling for a potential band)on the popular app that is used by over 150 million Americans.
However, it’s not just TikTok that may be spying on you or your children.
Bytedance – which is the Chinese company that owns TikTok, also owns the popular video / photo editing app called “CapCut.” Many of you and your children probably have this app downloaded on their phones, over 400 million people do. It allows users to integrate and edit photos, videos and other pieces of content. Many people use it for everything from social media posts to even school projects.
And it is under the SAME ownership that is behind TikTok – of which all the craze is about.
SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?
Every app of course has different allowances / restrictions as part of it. But it is what the user DOESN’T know that is currently being debated at today’s Congressional hearings.
There had been reports of TikTok and ByteDance utilizing people’s microphones, logging keystrokes as well as collecting more data than they claim to. Although this has been denied by the company, the whole point of today’s hearing is because Congress believes that this is in fact happening.
Last year, ByteDance had internal employees illegally access and monitor journalists that were criticizing and investigating the app, according to a blockbuster Forbes report. Those employees were eventually fired, but you can understand the hesitancy that some may have.
CONTENT AND DATA PRIVACY CONCERNS
Although CapCut isn’t the same exact thing as TikTok, the underlining concerns are still there.
With TikTok, many of the concerns were about the content (i.e. what they are allowing or blocking or pushing harmful content to see) as well as the data concerns. The worry revolves around allowing a Chinese company, which although is ‘private’ still falls under the communist regime’s control to an extent, to have massive access to user’s data and collect surveillance.
CapCut has access to user photos, videos and more. If Congress and people are concerned about the ‘data gathering’ aspect of TikTok and not just the content moderation, then one could reasonably assume that CapCut may have some nefarious things to it as well.
Again, a lot of this is just alleged at this point and I am not making any definitive statements or claims, but based on what we are seeing with today’s Congressional hearings, it’s important for you, as well as your children to know what types of apps they are using. Earlier today on FOX News, anchor John Roberts said his son was using CapCut and he made him stop because of privacy concerns.
For his part, Shou Zi Chew testified today on Capitol Hill that he saw “no evidence,” that the Chinese government has access to American user’s data.
But then again, do we really think they would admit to us if they did?