A draft of China-owned TikTok’s plan to avoid a ban reportedly gives the United States government oversight power over the platform.
TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, has spent years in negotiation with the U.S. government over security concerns in order to prevent the app from being banned in the United States.
Now, a 2022 draft obtained by Forbes reveals a plan to give the U.S. government “near unfettered access to internal TikTok information and unprecedented control over essential functions that it does not have over any other major free speech platform,” the outlet reported.
The nearly 100-page document is a confidential attorneys’ draft, and contains comment exchanges between lawyers for both ByteDance and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). It remains unclear if the draft has been changed over the year.
Nonetheless, this draft agreement gives U.S. federal agencies like the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Department of Defense (DOD) the authority to do the following:
- Examine TikTok’s U.S. facilities, records, equipment and servers with minimal or no notice
- Veto the hiring of any executive involved in leading TikTok’s U.S. Data Security org
- Order TikTok and ByteDance to pay for and subject themselves to various audits, assessments and other reports on the security of TikTok’s U.S. functions
- In some circumstances, require ByteDance to temporarily stop TikTok from functioning in the United States.
The agreement would also make TikTok’s U.S. operations subject to extensive supervision by independent investigative bodies, such as a third-party monitor, a third-party auditor, a cybersecurity auditor, and a source code inspector, Forbes reported.
It would also make it so that TikTok U.S. excludes ByteDance leaders from certain security-related decision making, and instead rely on an executive security committee operating in secrecy from ByteDance.
In one revealing exchange, ByteDance attorneys tell CFIUS that they have added language that stops the government from demanding changes to TikTok’s algorithm simply because it recommended content that the government does not like.
In 2020, then-President Donald Trump tried to outright ban new downloads of the Chinese app, but a series of court decisions blocked the rule from going into effect.
Since then, TikTok’s parent company has been caught snooping on U.S. and UK journalists in multiple instances. The Chinese app has also shown itself to be a danger to kids and teens, a national security threat, and having meddled in U.S. elections.
As Breitbart News reported last week, nearly half of American adults support a ban of TikTok.