As TikTok’s CEO, Kevin Mayer, was questioned on Wednesday by skeptical lawmakers about how the Chinese-owned app handles children’s safety and content, it has become clear that the social media platform is facing increasing scrutiny. With millions of users worldwide, the focus by US lawmakers on the app’s safety and content policies is a sign of the growing attention and regulation facing TikTok.
Lawmakers expressed concerns about whether the app is collecting data from users and its plans to protect the safety of children. These worries were further emphasized due to the app’s Chinese ownership, as well as questions about how its content moderation works, with some members of Congress expressing concerns about the extent to which TikTok follows China’s censorship rules.
As questions about the app’s safety and content policies continue to emerge, Mayer said that the company has “no higher priority than protecting our users’ privacy and safety.” He went on to note that the app has “an extensive library of policies, procedures, and practices that govern safety on the platform,” and that it had “increased our investment in safety research and security teams to ensure the TikTok platform is a safe and secure place for users.”
TikTok’s Safety and Data Collection Policies
TikTok has implemented various safeguards and policies to protect users’ data, such as in-app age-verification processes and stringent moderation protocols. This includes employing an artificial intelligence-based system to automatically detect and remove dangerous and inappropriate content. Additionally, the company has plans to create a safety center specifically for children users.
As for data collection, the app does collect some information from users, including name, age, IP address, and device information. However, Mayer noted that the app does not sell any user data to third parties, and asserted that the company does not share user data with China or allow the Chinese government to access it.
Response to Questions
Mayer responded to the various questions presented to him in a professional manner, and at times attempted to reassure lawmakers that the company was taking the necessary steps to ensure safety, security, and privacy on the app. He proposed a set of safety principles for the app, which would involve “gaining parental consent for users and workers under 16, providing users more control over their data, improving transparency, and using technology to protect and remove dangerous content.”
The Future of TikTok
As lawmakers continue to debate the safety and content policies of the app, it is uncertain what the future of TikTok will be. However, it is clear that the app will continue to face greater scrutiny and regulation.
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