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  • Welcome back to China Uncensored.

  • I'm Chris Chappell.

  • This episode has been sponsored by Surfshark.

  • Protect your privacy online.

  • Now, my team of high-powered market researchers

  • has told me I need to make China Uncensored

  • more appealing to Generation Z.

  • And that's why I joinedThe Tick Tock.”

  • It's justTikTok.”

  • Fine. “TikTok.”

  • TikTok has 500 million active users worldwide,

  • including pretty much everyone under 25.

  • It's...fire.

  • Who are you? How did you even get in here?

  • Look. I get that Tik Tok is the coolest new app.

  • Or littest. Or most Gucci, fam.

  • I hate myself right now.

  • But the biggest problem,

  • other than my own looming mortality,

  • is that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company.

  • Back in 2017, a Chinese company called ByteDance

  • bought the social media app Musical.ly

  • for close to one billion dollars.

  • Musical.ly was based in Shanghai,

  • but had its most users in the US,

  • where it caught on with American teens.

  • Then they merged Musical.ly's userbase into TikTok,

  • and that allowed them to slide TikTok into the US market.

  • Now, you might think,

  • So what if TikTok is owned by a Chinese company?”

  • Well, if you're worried aboutFBI Manwatching you...

  • ...you should be way more concerned aboutMSS Manwatching you.

  • MSS is China's Ministry of State Security.

  • They're seriously scary dudes.

  • Or whatever zoomers call dudes these days.

  • And China has very different laws about data privacy.

  • Namely, in China, there's no privacy.

  • Chinese law says Chinese companies that collect user data

  • have to share that data with the Chinese government upon request.

  • It's not that Chinese authorities actively monitor every user's data in real time,

  • butThe reality is that if and when Beijing makes a demand,

  • it is hard for Chinese-based companies to say no.”

  • And that's why it might be concerning that a Chinese company

  • ByteDanceowns TikTok,

  • since TikTok collects so much user data.

  • That data includes your username,

  • what you like, where you are in the world,

  • what's being recorded by your

  • camera and microphone, et cetera.

  • And it's not just *me speculating* about security risks.

  • The US government has just opened a national security investigation into TikTok.

  • The investigation is led by CFIUS

  • the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

  • CFIUS is an interdepartmental group of federal government agencies.

  • It investigatesand sometimes blocks

  • deals by foreign companies that might pose a risk to US national security.

  • For example, last year CFIUS blocked Chinese-owned Ant Financial

  • from buying financial services company MoneyGram.

  • CFIUS also blocked IDG Energy Investment

  • from buying a bunch of oil and gas assets in Texas.

  • And now CFIUS is forcing a Chinese company to sell Grindr,

  • a gay dating app.

  • Chinese gaming company Kunlun Tech had purchased Grindr last year,

  • without going through a CFIUS review.

  • CFIUS didn't disclose specifically why the Chinese buyout of Grindr

  • was a national security concern.

  • But I can just imagine what would happen

  • if the Chinese intelligence service

  • knew private information about Americans

  • like who's gay, who's HIV-positive,

  • and had access to the, um, “picsthat may *occasionally*

  • get sent by men using the Grindr app.

  • Imagine all the blackmail opportunities.

  • Anyway, back to TikTok.

  • Earlier this year,

  • there were also some concerns about TikTok's censorship.

  • It came after the Guardian got its hands

  • on TikTok's content moderation policy.

  • It showed TikTok had been censoring content

  • that was embarrassing to the Chinese regime.

  • For example, there were reports that videos about

  • the Hong Kong protests were being either blocked completely,

  • or quietly labeled asvisible to self”,

  • so other users couldn't see them.

  • And this applied to the American app TikTok,

  • not the Chinese version,

  • which goes by a different name.

  • But it seems that since May this year,

  • TikTok has changed its policies to distance itself from Beijing.

  • TikTok now claims that it not censor content....

  • ...while also not specifically admitting that they ever did.

  • In an official statement, TikTok said,

  • “[Their] data centers are located entirely outside of China,

  • and none of [their] data is subject to Chinese law.”

  • They also said, “[they] have never been asked

  • by the Chinese government to remove any content

  • and [they] would not do so if asked.”

  • Which is funny, because ByteDance,

  • the company that owns TikTok,

  • is completely governed by Chinese law.

  • That means the Chinese government could in theory

  • require ByteDance to require TikTok to give up user information.

  • Which means TikTok would give it to ByteDance,

  • which would give it to the Chinese government.

  • But I see no reason why the US government

  • should ban a Chinese-owned social media app.

  • Even though the *Chinese* government bans

  • pretty much all *American* social media apps,

  • like Twitter and Facebook.

  • But still, CFIUS is investigating TikTok

  • as a potential a national security risk.

  • CFIUS just won't reveal why,

  • since they “[do not] comment on information relating to specific...cases.”

  • There are few things that could happen after this review process.

  • CFIUS could decide TikTok is a risk,

  • and ban it outright. That's unlikely.

  • CFIUS could decide that TikTok's owner,

  • Bytedance, needs to sell off TikTok to an American company.

  • That's what happened with Grindr

  • although the difference is that TikTok

  • wasn't an American company to begin with.

  • Or CFIUS could decide there's no problem.

  • And then TikTok would be free to do...

  • whatever TikTok does.

  • Because frankly, I still don't get the appeal.

  • What are you still doing here?!

  • Anyway, this episode has been sponsored by Surfshark.

  • You should be using a VPN whenever you go online.

  • I mean, you don't want Chinese companies

  • monitoring what you do on the internet, do you?

  • Surfshark can also help prevent hackers,

  • the US government,

  • or your internet service provider

  • from learning who or where you are.

  • And if you want to post subversive videos to TikTok

  • in a country that won't let you...

  • you can use Surfshark's NoBordersmode to get around it.

  • Plus with Surfshark, you can connect as many devices as you want.

  • Try it out with a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • Plus Surfshark has a special discount

  • for China Uncensored fans for Black Friday.

  • Go to Surfshark.com/uncensored and use the code UNCENSORED

  • to get 83% off a 2-year plan and three additional months free.

  • Protect yourself online. Click the link below.

  • Once again, I'm Chris Chappell.

  • See you next time.

Welcome back to China Uncensored.

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B1 US tiktok chinese bytedance company data chinese government

Is Chinese-Owned TikTok a Security Risk?

  • 7 0
    zijun su posted on 2021/06/22
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