Concerns about transparency of TikTok, which is rapidly progressing in the United States: A bill to ban its use on US government terminals is active | DIGIDAY[Japanese version]

As TikTok’s influence grows with advertisers and users, some companies and security experts have welcomed moves by Congress to limit the use of TikTok on government-owned devices. are raising their voices.

In mid-December 2022, federal and state legislatures passed bills banning government employees from using the TikTok app on government-owned devices and computer networks. In addition to the passage of the bill in the U.S. Senate, the states of South Dakota, Texas, Maryland, as well as Alabama and Utah have also banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. Meanwhile, a newly announced bipartisan bill even proposes to ban the app entirely in the United States.

Prohibition has been called out for more than two years

A TikTok spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile, senior U.S. government officials, including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes and FBI Director Chris Wray, have accused the Chinese government of using the app to collect data and influence users through content. It has expressed new concerns about the possibility of developing intelligence activities against American citizens, which is one of the backdrops for a series of legislative actions. Many of the problems stem from TikTok’s parent company, the Chinese company ByteDance, which some say has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Federal-level legislation is a long way off, but some say such legislation is long overdue despite TikTok’s rapid growth as a marketing platform.

Concerns about TikTok are nothing new. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning the app unless it sold the business to a US company. But despite reports of potential buyers, TikTok’s lawsuit against the U.S. government prevented the executive order’s ban from being implemented. Last year, U.S. President Joe Biden reversed Trump’s executive order while directing the Department of Commerce to scrutinize apps designed and developed in China (June 2022, TikTok has announced that it will move all of its US users’ data to Oracle’s cloud platform.)

Concerns have also been voiced by members of Congress. For example, Democratic Senator Mark Warner even said, “A ban like this was easier two years ago when Trump proposed it.” And last week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, praised Senator Marco Rubio’s bipartisan bill calling for an outright ban on TikTok.

Mr Carr said in a statement: “TikTok poses an unacceptable risk to our national security and to the safety and privacy of millions of Americans, and it is now a national consensus. Experts in the matter continue to raise concerns about TikTok operating in the U.S. without scrutiny.The question is no longer whether TikTok will end its current operations, but when. Raft.”

Security Experts, Some Marketers Concerned

While TikTok is rapidly expanding its appeal to advertisers, some marketers say it would be prudent for U.S. authorities to take national security steps. Kevin Renwick, media director at creative media agency Mekanism, is among those who support banning TikTok on government devices. “It makes sense to put certain restrictions on people viewing content on government-issued devices,” he said.

“There have been many allegations of fraud on TikTok,” said Renwick. “I can’t imagine what’s going on in the larger ecosystem, especially geopolitical, that hasn’t been exposed yet.”

Marketers should consider brand safety from a broader perspective, not limited to the distribution of ads. So said Mia Cole Tefka, a former head of content and creative at Facebook, Mondelez and New York-based agency Huge. While TikTok excels in creativity, community building, and ease of use, he said the focus should also be on accessibility to TikTok’s entire platform data.

“There is an ethical question about how the data is used and what happens as a result of engaging with it,” Tefuka said. He is currently a freelance consultant helping companies build online communities. “Global brands weigh the censorship and propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party separately from business opportunities, but when it comes to TikTok, the waters are murky and lack of transparency is the biggest concern.”

AI in TikTok is also a concern. Will AI affect humans?

In addition to concerns about user data collection in the U.S., government officials have also questioned TikTok’s algorithm and the artificial intelligence it uses to recommend videos.

Vince Lynch, co-founder and CEO of AI start-up IV.AI. is one of the reasons for banning the use of TikTok.” Lynch said tech companies that use AI should be more transparent about their intentions to use it and provide details about who they serve content to and why. not. He also argues that employees should be mandated to build ethical data models.

“It’s a real story that AI will affect humans,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s made in China or not. Same goes for Meta and Twitter.”

Freelance security researcher Zach Edwards said lawmakers should also consider threats beyond TikTok. As an example, he cited Pushwoosh.Allegedly masquerading as an American companyA Russian software platform, the code developed by the company has been implemented in a number of mobile apps, including one used by US government agencies.

“It’s the bare minimum data privacy law that protects most Americans,” Edwards said. “From that perspective alone, many people should be skeptical of companies that target US consumers and have deep ties to foreign governments, and potentially should be avoided.”

On the other hand, the number of users is increasing. TikTok needs transparency

Despite those concerns, more and more brands are using TikTok, according to Comscore. For example, in November 2022, U.S. brands and publishers received a 206% year-over-year increase in engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.), a 166% increase in video views, and a 427% increase in total followers. Comscore did not disclose specific numbers.

TikTok’s popularity is also growing among users. US users visiting TikTok in October 2022 surpassed 119 million, up 12% from October 2021, according to comScore. Moreover, although the app is basically popular with young people, the fastest growing age group is older than the average age of TikTok users. Comscore showed a 27% increase in the total number of users over the age of 65, and a 23% increase in users between the ages of 35 and 44.

Lynette Owens, vice president of global consumer education at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, said lawsuits can be a catalyst for change, but they don’t guarantee complete user safety. there is According to Owens, consumers want greater digital literacy and transparency about how platforms like TikTok work and what data they collect.

“Many consumers may choose not to use these platforms if they are not comfortable with the amount of privacy and data they demand in exchange for using these platforms,” Owens said. “If, for example, the ingredients, calories and nutritional content are listed on the packaging of a food product, consumers may be motivated to change their diet based on this information provided.”

[original:A bill to ban TikTok is gaining traction in Congress, and with some marketers

Marty Swant (translation: Junko English, editing: Ryohei Shimada)

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