Clock ticks for reining in TikTok risk

TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration taken, August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters Breakingviews) - President Joe Biden’s administration is inching closer to a proposal for how to allay the perceived security risks over social network TikTok, but it is still dithering on the details, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, the Chinese-owned short-form video platform is soaring in popularity. The more time that passes, the harder TikTok gets to police.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump tried to force a sale two years ago and threatened to ban TikTok over concerns that Chinese parent ByteDance could take American data. Biden’s team has similar security worries, and the latest proposal is to have TikTok store its American data in the United States, according to the New York Times citing sources familiar with the talks.

The problem only gets bigger. TikTok is expected to grow its U.S. monthly user base to over 105 million in five years, according to estimates from eMarketer, four times what it was in 2018. That would represent 45% of all social network users. At that point, disrupting TikTok’s service would create an awful lot of unhappy young Americans. Best to get cracking. (By Jennifer Saba)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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Editing by John Foley and Amanda Gomez

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