Udayavni Special

Silicon Valley wants the US to follow India in banning Chinese app TikTok: expert

PTI, Jul 2, 2020, 2:30 PM IST


Washington: Silicon Valley, the global IT hub, does not feel sorry for TikTok, which has been banned in India, and in fact wants the US to take a similar step against the popular Chinese app, according to a prominent Indian-American venture capitalist.

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, for engaging in “activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

The ban came against the backdrop of the current stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual control in eastern Ladakh.

Former president of TiE Silicon Valley Venkatesh Shukla said TikTok is fast becoming one of the most influential social media platforms, joining the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in terms of audience size, demographic engagement and advertising dollars.

TiE is a non-profit organisation for entrepreneurial networking.

“Given this competition for advertising dollars, Silicon Valley does not feel sorry for TikTok,” said Shukla, the Indian-American venture capitalist. Advertising dollars refers to promotional expenditure against the expected revenue to be generated.

“In fact, the sentiment here seems to be that the US should follow suit and ban it (TikTok) in the US as well. After all, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are not allowed to operate in China, so why should TikTok be allowed here?” Shukla asked.

Cuban-American music video director and producer Robby Starbuck said the US should ban the Chinese video-sharing application.

“Ban all apps controlled by China. They’re a national security risk that we can’t afford to take,” Starbuck tweeted.

Business magazine Forbes said TikTok will be adversely hit by these new restrictions on its largest market.

“There was a storm of publicity last week, when TikTok was found by Apple AAPL to be secretly accessing users’ clipboards. TikTok claims that this was an inadvertent technical bug caused by an anti-spam filter, but the backlash was fast and furious,” Forbes wrote.

Last December, the US Army banned the use of TikTok by its soldiers. It called the app a security threat. The US navy has enforced similar restrictions.

In February, TikTok had agreed to pay USD 5.7 million to the US Federal Trade Commission to settle allegations that it illegally collected personal information from children under the age of 13, such as names, email addresses and their location.

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