HomeMedia & TrendsTikTok CEO Tries to Calm Security Fears at TED2023 Conference

TikTok CEO Tries to Calm Security Fears at TED2023 Conference

  • IN BRIEF: Chew’s appearance at the TED conference highlights the level of scrutiny that TikTok is under as a result of its Chinese ownership. The app has been criticized for censoring content and has been the subject of multiple investigations. The company has also been accused of illegally collecting data from children in the US, resulting in a $5.7 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Despite these challenges, TikTok continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms globally, with over one billion active users.

The CEO of TikTok, Shou Chew, addressed concerns about the security of the video-sharing app during a TED2023 Possibility conference in Vancouver. Chew stated that TikTok is building tools to prevent any interference from happening, with a high level of transparency to reduce the risk of meddling as much as possible.

Chew’s comments come amid concerns from US officials who have threatened to ban TikTok, citing the app’s alleged threat to privacy and US national security. US lawmakers have interrogated Chew over concerns that the Chinese government may access TikTok user data for espionage and influence operations in the US.

Chew attempted to allay these fears, stating that TikTok has never stored data from Americans on servers in China, with new US data stored on Oracle Cloud infrastructure. However, there is still some legacy data to delete from servers in Virginia and Singapore, which Chew expects to be completed by the end of the year.

Chew also emphasized TikTok’s efforts to moderate content, noting that the cost of moderation is one of the most significant expenditures for the company. He revealed that a group of tens of thousands of people, based in Ireland, is responsible for the moderation process, which is complemented by machine learning tools.

Several governments, including Canada and the US, have banned the TikTok app from government-issued smartphones, citing concerns about user data being exploited by the Chinese government.

Chew’s assurances may provide some reassurance to US officials, who have described TikTok as a national security threat. Speaking at the TED conference, Chew attempted to shift the focus onto the positive aspects of the platform, discussing how it can be used to bring people together and foster creativity.

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