TechScape: suspicious of TikTok? You’re not alone

What’s the problem with TikTok? It’s a harder question to answer than it seems. The social video app, which has joined Facebook/Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in the list of societally important social networks, is frequently spoken about with an air of suspicion, and it’s not hard to guess why: the app’s Chinese roots loom large in the conversation. (ByteDance, which owns TikTok, insists that it is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, one of the only instances I’ve seen of a company deciding that loudly proclaiming its paper HQ is located…

How TikTok is turning a generation of video addicts into a data goldmine

Question: what do men and Excel have in common? Answer: they’re always automatically turning things into dates when they’re not. To younger people – that is, anyone under the age of 20 – Microsoft’s spreadsheet program, a tool as essential to accountants as saws are to carpenters, is the contemporary equivalent of mom jeans, handwritten thank-you notes and cravats: stuff that oldies care about. How come, then, that the hashtag #excel has had 3.4bn views on a certain social media platform and that one Excel expert on that platform has…

TikTok moves to ease fears amid report workers in China accessed US users’ data

TikTok has said that Oracle will store all the data from its US users, in a bid to allay fears about its safety in the hands of a platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The move comes as a report from BuzzFeed news, citing leaked audio from TikTok in-house meetings, said ByteDance employees in China have repeatedly accessed private information about US TikTok users. The popular video snippet sharing service has fended off concerns about the ability of engineers in China to access information about US users that isn’t…

The rise of TikTok: why Facebook is worried about the booming social app

TikTok is on track to overtake the global advertising scale of Twitter and Snapchat combined this year, and to match mighty YouTube within two years, as trendsetting teens and young adults make it the hottest social app of the moment – and Facebook is worried. The Chinese-owned video-sharing platform is forecast to catch up with YouTube by 2024 when both are predicted to take $23.6bn (£18.2bn) in ad revenue, despite TikTok being launched globally 12 years after its Google-owned rival. Helped by unparalleled moments of cool at the height of…

China hires western TikTokers to polish its image during 2022 Winter Olympics

An army of western social media influencers, each with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram or Twitch, is set to spread positive stories about China throughout next month’s Winter Olympics. Concerned about the international backlash against the Beijing Games amid a wave of diplomatic boycotts, the government has hired western PR professionals to spread an alternative narrative through social media. In November, as Joe Biden contemplated a diplomatic boycott, Vipinder Jaswal, a US-based Newsweek contributor and former Fox News and HSBC executive, signed a $300,000 contract with China’s…