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TikTok Officials Discussing New, Algorithmic Transparency Measures with United States Government

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ByteDance’s popular short form social app TikTok has been the target of a number of states within the US who have moved to ban the app on government-owned devices and with chatter within the political realm that the app is being used to spy on journalists, according to the Wall Street Journal.

ByteDane is exploring a number of potential changes in it’s deal with United States officials, particularly the Committee for Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), as the company looks to avoid a ban of the TikTok app throughout the country.

The two sides, whom have been talking for months have been working on terms of a potential deal that would enable TikTok to continue operating within the United States, and those talks have been centered on data storage, and limiting access to US user data by China-based ByteDance employees.

The agreement would likely see TikTok partnering with Oracle on a local storage center specifically for users within the United States.

There are also new concerns about how TikTok’s algorithm functions, and how it could be used to potentially manipulate users.

Per the report: “The talks with US officials and lawmakers have become more urgent for TikTok in recent months as federal and state politicians have made moves to ban the app on government-issued devices. TikTok is hoping that details of its planned reorganization – and promised measures to ensure oversight of its content-recommendation algorithms – will convince potential allies in Washington of its ability to operate independently of its parent company, China-based ByteDance Ltd.”

“In 2020, US TikTok executives noticed views for videos from certain creators about the US presidential election were mysteriously dropping 30% to 40%, people familiar with the episode said. When those executives asked their bosses in China, they found that TikTok’s algorithm team had tweaked certain aspects of the type of content shown on the app to play down political conversations about the election, and this had inadvertently buried the videos of a range of users, the people said.”

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