TikTok continues its offensive in Washington, D.C., to counter calls for a U.S. ban on the app over Chinese ownership.
Senior executives of a popular video app and its lobbyists brief members of Congress, academic researchers, think-tank writers and others about a $1.5 billion effort called Project Texas, believing TikTok can address people’s concerns. It explains in detail how to People who said they were briefed about the lobbying and media reports said they see it as a security threat.
Some of the details appeared Thursday Security blog at Lawfarethe two provided recaps of what they said they heard at last week’s TikTok briefing.
Matt Perault, one of the co-authors of the blog post and director of the Center for Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said much of the political debate around TikTok is rooted in guesswork. . The briefing was a chance to hear the details the company has to offer.
“The discussion should be based on the reality of the planned operation, not speculation about the planned operation,” Perot said in a telephone interview.
His center is funded by TikTok, but said he has no idea if TikTok’s guarantees are satisfactory. He said he sees his role in the briefing as an opportunity to hear details that he and others can convey to the public. new york times Thursday and early this month wall street journal.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s lobbying.
TikTok faces the most serious threat to its U.S. business since then-President Donald Trump lost a court case in 2020 trying to ban the app. Some governors have banned his TikTok on state computer networks. at a public universityCongress passed a ban on TikTok last month From federal devicesand this week Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. complete national ban.
it’s all part Strategies of Chinese hawks and other TikTok commentators Gradually fence TikTok and make it difficult or impossible for people to access the app in the US
It’s not clear if TikTok’s latest effort in Washington will make a difference, but TikTok continues its multi-year negotiations with the Biden administration over a potential security deal to ease security concerns. represents a change in the strategy of
“We’ve changed our approach,” Erich Andersen, general counsel for TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance, told The Times.
Some of TikTok’s critics say they resent how easily TikTok expanded its lobbying presence in Washington. By paying top companies.
“China’s strategy is to seduce with money and reinforce with retaliation and intimidation,” said Keith Crack, a former undersecretary of state in the Trump administration and former CEO of tech company DocuSign.
TikTok’s key partner is US computing giant Oracle, headquartered in Austin, Texas, where TikTok may choose to store US users’ data. Codenamed “Project Texas” was unveiled last year. Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
According to Lawfare’s blog post, among the details revealed by TikTok is the creation of a board of directors to oversee the new subsidiary, which will focus on the security of US data, with TikTok nominating a board member. , U.S. government officials are reviewing the names.