Short video app TikTok, under scrutiny for ties to China, postpones meeting with US lawmakers

South China Morning Post Dipublikasikan 13.12, 11/12/2019
Short video app TikTok, under scrutiny for ties to China, postpones meeting with US lawmakers

Short video platform TikTok, which has attracted scrutiny from Washington for its ties to China, is postponing meetings between its CEO and US lawmakers that were planned for this week.

"TikTok has no higher priority than ensuring Congress Members' questions are addressed fully and transparently. To ensure these conversations are as productive as possible, we're postponing these meetings until after the holidays," said a TikTok spokesman in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

The meetings planned between TikTok CEO Alex Zhu and US lawmakers were in response to the increasing pressure faced by the video app's Beijing-based owner ByteDance to address censorship and data privacy fears. The short video platform has been accumulating users at a faster rate than Facebook or Instagram, according to industry estimates.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn was among the first to confirm a meeting with Zhu, following her open letter to the TikTok chief last month where she expressed concerns over how the app could help the Chinese government "gain unfettered and unsupervised access" to American children's lives.

The seven-year-old start-up has become the first major Chinese social media company to achieve success in the overseas market. TikTok, which has said it would never censor videos that displeased the ruling Chinese Communist Party, has reached 1.5 billion total downloads on the App Store and Google Play, according to data provider Sensor Tower. It is the third most downloaded non-gaming app of the year after WhatsApp and Messenger.

Separately, TikTok's parent Bytedance, the world's most valuable start-up, is testing a music app in emerging markets to scale up its global services.

Resso, which was launched in May this year, has seen India become its most popular market, with strong growth experienced in the music category of app store rankings since November, according to Sensor Tower.

The Post reported in April that ByteDance was working on a Spotify-like music streaming app for overseas markets, with more than 100 people working on it, according to a source.

A Bytedance spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the music app.

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