Governments worldwide, including the United States, Europe, and Canada, have expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with a popular short-form video app TikTok owned by Chinese company ByteDance, in terms of compromising sensitive user data. In response, various countries have intensified their efforts to restrict access to the short video app, taking steps such as instructing federal agencies to remove the app from government devices within 30 days and imposing bans on the use of the short video app on official devices.
Australia joined the list of countries prohibiting the use of the short video app on government devices on April 4, based on advice from intelligence and security agencies, according to multiple outlets. Furthermore, in the United States, a House committee voted to advance legislation that would grant President Biden the power to ban the short video app across all devices nationwide, signaling a strong attempt to restrict its usage.
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The short video app’s CEO, Shou Chew, answered queries for five hours before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, facing questions about the app’s relationship with ByteDance, and concerns regarding China’s potential influence, reports say.
According to reports, despite these concerns, the short video app has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has actively tried to distance itself from ByteDance. Additionally, the short video app has emerged as a significant player in the “creator economy,” with an annual value exceeding $100 billion. Influencers on the platform have been able to generate substantial income, with the average annual income in the United States surpassing $108,000 in 2021. Furthermore, the short video app has gained a considerable share of the global digital advertising market, controlling 2.3% of the market, second only to Google.
However, the future of the short video app in the U.S. social media landscape remains uncertain, as the government increases scrutiny. Creators and entrepreneurs who benefited from short video apps are taking measures to prepare for a potential ban by diversifying their content across multiple video platforms, building audiences, and exploring alternative avenues such as podcasts and newsletters.
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In response to the short video app’s popularity, multinational technology conglomerate Meta has invested significant resources in its own video service called Reels, similar to the short video app. CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted in the earnings call that users are sharing Reels videos over 2 billion times daily, with the number doubling in the past six months. Other video platforms have also allocated substantial funds to develop their own short-video features, as competition intensifies in capturing the short-form video market.
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