Users of the video-sharing app TikTok, which Beijing-based technology company ByteDance owns, spent $2.3 billion on the platform last year, according to Sensor Tower.
But before the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2019, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg met with then-President Donald Trump to warn of the threat TikTok posed to national security and U.S. businesses. A year later, Trump signed an executive order demanding that ByteDance divest itself from its U.S. operations.
More recently, under President Joe Biden, Trump's executive order was rescinded and replaced with Biden's own executive order calling for an evaluation of ''threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis.'' In light of the app's pervasive use across the United States, however, it is unclear what framework the Biden administration has or will establish to combat security threats.
TikTok saw a 77% increase in user spending to $2.3 billion in 2021, up from $1.3 billion in 2020. The spending included transactions made on the heavily censored Chinese iOS version, Douyin.
In addition, Sensor Tower data showed that the United States was the second-largest spender on the app behind China.
But in light of security concerns, TikTok, which has surpassed Facebook with 3 billion installations, has argued in an August 2020 lawsuit that it has ''not and has never been offered in China,'' arguing that it was unfair for the Trump administration to issue an executive order to ban the app.
But according to Breitbart's reporting, ''six current and former TikTok employees'' say ''the firm was still largely under the influence of ByteDance's Beijing headquarters. Four current and former staffers told Business Insider that discussions relating to TikTok's products often require calls with employees at ByteDance's China HQ and final product decisions are regularly made in Beijing.''
In June, CNBC reported that ''the Biden administration had asked the court to postpone action around [a] government dispute with TikTok over the ban as it reviewed the situation. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time that a [Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S] review of TikTok was ongoing.''
It is unclear if the review is ongoing.
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