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Challenges from Europe and America

On February 16, 2021 TikTok was sued in Europe for abusing consumer rights. Millions of Europeans use TikTok to post, share and watch videos 3 to 60 seconds long, ranging from dogs in pink tutus to Shaq dancing.

The European Consumer Organization BEUC is an authorized entity in the EU to file complaints against businesses. Its press release, BEUC files complaint against TikTok for multiple EU consumer law breaches | , claims that TikTok engages in a “massive scale” of consumer abuse, including unfair and deceptive practices, terms of use that hurt consumers, failure to protect minors from harmful content and embedded advertising, and misleading use of personal data.

By contrast, the U.S. President on August 14, 2020 issued an executive order to kick TikTok out of operation in the States unless it sold its American operations to a U.S. buyer. The Executive Order was based on TikTok’s Chinese ownership, which the prior U.S. Administration claimed was a threat to U.S. national security because the owner ByteDance was accessing personal data of U.S. persons that could be provided to PRC authorities. TikTok successfully sued in several courts to block immediate enforcement of the Executive Order, a matter on appeal in the federal courts. On February 10, 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden Administration decided that it would review the matter but was unlikely to pursue a forced sale to American companies.

What’s the future of TikTok as a Chinese-owned business that allows people to post, share and watch videos globally? And what does it mean for the world where business and human connections flow across borders? The Data Privacy Detective explores these puzzles in this podcast.

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