TikTok’s Lobbying Efforts in Congress: A Closer Look
TikTok, the social media platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been making waves in the United States since 2019. With concerns about national security and data privacy surrounding the app, TikTok and ByteDance have spent over $13 million on lobbying members of Congress to address these issues.
The Ownership of TikTok
TikTok’s ownership by a Chinese company has been a primary focus of legislative campaigns, with some lawmakers even calling for the app to be prohibited from operating in the United States. However, TikTok’s spokeswoman, Brooke Oberwetter, insists that the company is focused on educating lawmakers and stakeholders about their service.
Project Texas: TikTok’s Efforts to Address National Security Concerns
To address concerns about data privacy, TikTok has launched Project Texas. The project aims to put consumer data from the United States into a safe hub run by Oracle, a software company. However, legislators remain unconvinced that Project Texas is enough to allay these worries.
TikTok’s Lobbying Efforts
ByteDance’s quarterly lobbying reports show that all of its internal lobbyists, including Michael Beckerman and Freddy Barnes, represent TikTok. Moreover, TikTok has employed its own army of outside lobbyists, including former California Rep. Jeff Denham and former Biden assistant Ankit Desai.
In addition to lobbying, ByteDance also donated over $400,000 in “honorary costs” to charitable organizations partnered with members of Congress last year.
The Future of TikTok in the United States
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado recently presented legislation that would outlaw TikTok downloads nationally. Despite TikTok’s lobbying efforts and promises of Project Texas, it remains to be seen whether the app will continue to operate in the United States.
In a recent testimony before U.S. Congress, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew promised that once Project Texas is finished, ByteDance personnel headquartered in China will no longer have access to any U.S. data from the app.
TikTok’s lobbying efforts in Congress reflect the company’s commitment to addressing concerns about data privacy and national security. However, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be enough to convince lawmakers to allow the app to continue operating in the United States.
TikTok’s lobbying efforts in Congress have been significant, with the company and its parent corporation spending over $13 million since 2019. Despite these efforts, concerns about data privacy and national security continue to surround the app, and some lawmakers are calling for its prohibition. However, TikTok remains committed to addressing these concerns through Project Texas and continued lobbying efforts.