獨家:中國ByteDance在美國調查中 轉向其TikTok應用程式

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  • 獨家:中國ByteDance在美國調查中 轉向其TikTok應用程式

      202001/0202:36

    ◎知情人士指稱,中國北京網際網路公司(ByteDance)在美國國家安全委員會對其處理個人數據的安全性進行調查過程中,已加緊努力將其社交媒體應用程式TikTok與中國大部分業務區分開來。這家中國科技公司正在尋求向美國外國投資委員會(CFIUS)保證,TikTok所持有的個人數據已安全地存儲在美國,並且不會受到損害。
    ◎路透社日前報導,(CFIUS)正在審查外國收購交易是否存在潛在的國家安全風險,(CFIUS)正在調查(ByteDance)在2017年以10億美元收購社群媒體應用程式(Musical.ly)的交易,這起交易為TikTok的快速增長奠定了基礎。
    ◎消息人士指稱,(ByteDance)在(CFIUS) 於10月份與TikTok接洽之前,就開始將TikTok分開營運,今年夏天並請外部顧問對其儲存的個人數據完整性進行審核。該公司表示,美國用戶數據完全儲存在美國,備份在新加坡,中國政府對TikTok內容沒有任何管轄權。
    ◎消息人士指稱,TikTok正在推動在美國加州建立一個團隊,將負責數據管理,該團隊將確定中國工程師是否應進入TikTok的數據庫,並監視他們的活動。此外,TikTok還正在招聘更多的美國工程師,以減少對中國員工的依賴。
    ◎根據研究公司SensorTower的數據,兩年前推出的TikTok已被下載了15億次,成為年度下載量排名第三的非遊戲應用程式,僅次於Facebook的WhatsApp和Messenger應用。

    詳細內文:

    NEW YORK/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - ByteDance has stepped up efforts to separate its social media app TikTok from much of its Chinese operations, amid a U.S. national security panel’s inquiry into the safety of the personal data it handles, people familiar with the matter said.
    The Chinese technology company is seeking to provide assurances to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that personal data held by TikTok, which is widely popular with U.S. teenagers, is stored securely in the United States and will not be compromised by Chinese authorities, the sources said.
    CFIUS, which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, is looking into ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of social media app Musical.ly in 2017, which laid the foundations for TikTok’s rapid growth, Reuters reported earlier this month.

    ByteDance’s response represents a key test of corporate China’s ability to operate businesses in the United States that handle personal data, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China fans suspicion between the world’s two largest economies.
    ByteDance is hoping to avoid the fate of Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd (300418.SZ), which said in May it would agree to a CFIUS request to divest popular gay dating app Grindr following concerns about the security of personal data. It is also exploring exiting its investment in Grindr through an initial public offering.
    ByteDance started to separate TikTok operationally before CFIUS approached it in October, because it wanted some of its staff to focus on TikTok, according to the sources.
    It completed the separation of TikTok’s product and business development, marketing and legal teams from those of its Chinese social media app Douyin in the third quarter of this year, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss the company’s internal arrangements.
    During the summer, it also hired an external consultant to carry out audits on the integrity of the personal data it stores, the sources added. The company has said U.S. user data is stored entirely in the United States, with a backup in Singapore. It has also said that the Chinese government does not have any jurisdiction over TikTok content.
    Following the approach by CFIUS, TikTok is making a new push to set up a team in Mountain View, California, that will oversee data management, according to the sources. This team will determine whether Chinese-based engineers should have access to TikTok’s database, and monitor their activity, the sources said.
    TikTok is also hiring more U.S. engineers to reduce its reliance on staff in China, according to the sources.
    It is not clear how effective these changes will be in appeasing CFIUS. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department, which chairs CFIUS, said it does not comment on information relating to specific CFIUS cases.
    “Shifting a company’s operations away from China, geographically and technically, can give CFIUS more comfort that the company is really independent of its Chinese owner and the Chinese government,” said Nevena Simidjiyska, a partner at law firm Fox Rothschild LLP who advises companies on CFIUS reviews and is not involved in the TikTok case.
    U.S. CONCERNS
    TikTok employs about 400 people in the United States, up from 20 people at the time of the Musical.ly acquisition, the sources said. Most of the new employees joined this year, as TikTok built its U.S. operations, the sources added. ByteDance has 50,000 employees around the world.
    U.S. lawmakers called last month for a national security probe into TikTok, expressing concern that the Chinese company may be censoring politically sensitive content, and raising questions about how it stores personal data. Last week, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the U.S. military is undertaking a security assessment of TikTok.
    Facebook Inc (FB.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose social media platform competes with TikTok for younger users, has also criticized the app over censorship concerns.
    The CFIUS probe is currently focused on the handling of personal data, rather than censorship, according to two of the sources. ByteDance views the CFIUS investigation as informal, and has not yet been subjected to an official review, one of the sources added.
    Some of the personal data that TikTok stores, such as a person’s name, age, email address and phone number, is submitted by its users. Other information, related to a person’s location, is collected automatically, according to TikTok’s website. TikTok also stores user-generated content, such as photographs and videos.
    Launched just two years ago, TikTok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times, making it the third most downloaded non-gaming app of the year, after Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger apps, according to research firm SensorTower.

     

    Reuters
    https://reut.rs/2rESoui