In Bid to Avoid Ban, TikTok Forms 'Content Moderation' Bureau to Work in Concert With U.S. Govt

Chris Menahan
Dec. 28, 2022

As part of an effort to avoid being banned and/or taken over in the United States, TikTok has formed a "content moderation" bureau headed by a former US Secret Service agent that will be reporting to the US government.

From Reuters, "Exclusive: TikTok steps up efforts to clinch U.S. security deal":
Popular short-video app TikTok is offering to operate more of its business at arm's length and subject it to outside scrutiny as it tries to convince the U.S. government to allow it to remain under the ownership of Chinese technology company ByteDance, according to people familiar with the matter.

[...] TikTok has already unveiled several measures aimed at appeasing the U.S. government, including an agreement for Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) to store the data of the app's users in the United States and a United States Data Security (USDS) division to oversee data protection and content moderation decisions. It has spent $1.5 billion on hiring and reorganization costs to build up that unit, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But some government officials, including at the U.S. Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, remain opposed to a security deal, according to the sources. These officials argue that TikTok's users would continue to be vulnerable because the app would still rely for its technology on ByteDance, which also operates Chinese short-video app Douyin.

To overcome these hurdles, TikTok has sought to provide new layers of oversight to the U.S. government. It has expanded Oracle's role to ensuring that TikTok's technology infrastructure is separate from ByteDance, the sources said.

Oracle will review both app codes, which determine the look and feel of TikTok, and server codes, which provide functions such as search and recommendations, according to the sources. The reviews will occur at dedicated "transparency centers" visited by Oracle engineers, with the first one scheduled to open in Maryland in January, one of the sources added.

TikTok has also proposed to form a "proxy" board that would run the USDS division independent of ByteDance, the sources said. This division is headed on an interim basis by Andrew Bonillo, a former U.S Secret Service agent, and until a security deal with the U.S. is reached it reports to TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew.

The USDS board would have three members who would be screened by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a national security panel, the sources said. [...]

TikTok has been also seeking to hire independent auditors and monitors who would be paid by the company but report to CFIUS, according to the sources.
When Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube and Twitter were all censoring right-wing Americans we were told by our occupiers that they're "private companies" and can do anything they like (even though they were all working in concert with the US government).

Meanwhile, TikTok -- an actual private company owned by foreigners -- is being threatened with being seized/banned unless they "moderate content" to the liking of our occupiers.

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