In recent times, TikTok, owned by parent company ByteDance Ltd., has faced scrutiny over its supposed connections to the Chinese government and concerns over user data security. Here at BNMR GLVZ, we believe in setting the record straight. That’s why we’ve prepared this comprehensive blog post to dispel myths and clarify some crucial facts about TikTok and ByteDance.
Ownership and Headquarters
Myth: TikTok and ByteDance are solely Chinese owned.
Fact: ByteDance is a globally diversified company, with 60% beneficially owned by global institutional investors like Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, and Susquehanna International Group. Another 20% is owned by the company’s global employees, including almost 7,000 Americans. The founder owns the remaining 20%.
Myth: ByteDance and TikTok are headquartered in China.
Fact: TikTok’s headquarters are in Los Angeles and Singapore. ByteDance does not have a single global headquarters, adapting its corporate structure to suit the markets where it operates.
Governance and Control
Myth: A Chinese government member sits on ByteDance’s board.
Fact: The board consists of five individuals, none of whom is part of any government or state entity. Notably, three of the five board members are American.
Myth: The Chinese government has a “golden share” interest in ByteDance.
Fact: The Chinese government owns just 1% of a ByteDance subsidiary that operates only within China. This ownership does not impact ByteDance’s global operations, including TikTok.
Myth: Decisions about TikTok are made in Beijing.
Fact: TikTok’s CEO and most of its senior leadership team are based outside mainland China, in locations like Singapore, the United States, and Ireland.
Data Security and Privacy
Myth: ByteDance censors TikTok content for the Chinese government.
Fact: Content moderation is handled by a U.S. and Ireland-based Trust and Safety team, and there is no intervention from the Chinese government.
Myth: TikTok stores U.S. user data in China.
Fact: U.S. user data is stored in Oracle and USDS infrastructure within the United States and is managed by an American-led team.
Myth: Under China’s 2017 National Intelligence law, ByteDance could be compelled to share American TikTok user data.
Fact: TikTok Inc., which operates in the U.S., is incorporated in California and Delaware and is subject to U.S. laws.
Content and Usage
Myth: TikTok manipulates content for the Chinese government.
Fact: TikTok is a community-driven entertainment platform that does not allow any government to influence its recommendation model.
Myth: TikTok takes a lax approach to minor safety & privacy.
Fact: TikTok has implemented several measures, such as screen time limits and enhanced privacy settings for minors, to ensure a safe user experience.
Myth: TikTok is a platform for illegal drug trade.
Fact: TikTok has a zero-tolerance policy for any content related to illegal drugs or controlled substances.
It’s crucial to rely on verified facts rather than myths. We hope this post helps clarify the realities about TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance. With their multicultural ownership, international leadership, and strong commitment to user data security, it’s time to view these entities in a global, not just a Chinese, context.
This blog post is brought to you by BNMR GLVZ, where we believe in clarifying truths to navigate the dynamic landscape of digital media.
If you have more questions or need help in understanding digital media trends, feel free to contact us!