TikTok publishes transparency report: avoiding the ban is the undeclared goal

TikTok publishes transparency report: avoiding the ban is the undeclared goal

TikTok it is one of the apps that has had the greatest success in 2019. Two figures above all: 1.5 billion downloads (November data) and the most downloaded app in the world last summer. In short, an increasingly important presence on the market – almost cumbersome, given its Chinese root – enough to define it "phenomenon" in our in-depth analysis.

"Bulky", it was said: yes, because the problem is its owner, the Chinese ByteDance, which is trying to cut the bridges between TikTok and the Asian country to avoid international blockages (especially from the US), creating a new office outside national borders and entrusting it to safer "neutral" servers. (Also) for this reason the company released its first one Transparency Report, in which they provide

important information and clarity to our users on the volume and nature of government requests regarding our users' account information and other legal notifications.

In the side note published on the official blog, it is underlined how TikTok must comply with laws and regulations that vary from country to country, "like all other global internet platforms". For this reason they are subject to requests from the local governments of delete certain contents that are deemed to be contrary to current regulations (including for copyright infringement issues) or to provide information about some accounts in investigations or emergencies.

In short, it seems that the intention of TikTok is to to demonstrate to the public (and western governments) its intention to be as transparent as possible, by publishing the numbers of requests for removal of content and collection of personal information "for reasons of force majeure" received by the various countries in the period January-June 2019.

  • 298 requests of information from 28 countries
  • 26 requests to remove or restrict content from government bodies in 9 countries
  • 85% of content removed (on the overall request) for copyright infringement

The largest number of legal requests come from India (107), followed by the United States with 79 and Japan with 35 (in practice, the countries where TikTok is most widespread). From Italy 3 requests arrived. There is no China on the list: easy to think that the data has not been made public, but it is also true that TikTok does not actually exist in China, or at least operates under another name (Douyin).

In total, there were 6 requests from the US government, 11 from India, 3 from Japan and 1 from Italy, UK and Germany.

It will now be verified how this report on transparency will be considered by those who, in the United States, initiated a class action on charges accused of the social platform of collecting and sending user data to Chinese servers so punctual to allow the company itself owner to personally identify them. For some time, then, TikTok has been considered by the US government to be a security and censorship hazard (see the Hong Kong riots).

Credits opening image: Corriere del Ticino