Over the last few days, many gossip and rumors have been floating about the TikTok situation, especially in the United States. There were news reports regarding Microsoft and Oracle bidding to gain ownership of the TikTok US operations. Very recently, there were again some news stating that both of these tech giants could not acquire the US operations of TikTok. Now finally, ByteDance, who owns TikTok, has decided to come forward and throw some light on the present status of TikTok. On Monday, ByteDance provided a Chinese statement, giving clarity on many of the facts related to TikTok.
Here are some facts stated by ByteDance concerning TikTok.
- TikTok still belongs to ByteDance: About 80% of TikTok will remain with ByteDance, thereby making it clear that TikTok’s ownership rights remain with ByteDance. About 20% of TikTok’s assets have been sold to Oracle, who would be its “trusted technology partner,” and Walmart, which is expected to play the role of its “commercial partner.”
However, Jonathan Shieber, a journalist from Tech Crunch, stated that the TikTok deal does not address the actual problems of the US citizens. “The deal benefits everyone except US consumers and people who have actual security concerns about TikTok’s algorithms and the ways they can be used to influence opinion in the US,” was what he went on to say.
The TikTok’s board members are all present members of ByteDance. Barring ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming, none of the other board members are of Chinese origin. The latest board member to be added is Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart.
- TikTok is interested in getting a US IPO: TikTok is looking forward to having an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States. It hopes this move would “further enhance corporate governance and transparency.”
The video making app believes that if at all, it gets an IPO, people would receive more clarity regarding TikTok. It may also lead people in the US to believe that there is no national threat from TikTok due to its Chinese origin.
“TikTok Global,” says ByteDance, will not be separated into an exclusive US unit and the rest of the world. TikTok records about 700 million users a month, in which 100 million of these users are US citizens. Currently, TikTok’s headquarters are located in the United States.
- TikTok’s algorithms are not going anywhere: As reported earlier, Oracle would not be getting any hold over TikTok’s algorithms or technologies. Rather, it would be given the task of conducting security checks on “TikTok’s US source codes.” ByteDance says, “Revealing source codes is a universal solution to data security challenges posed to multinational corporations.”
- TikTok’s tax is estimated at $5 billion: ByteDance expects TikTok to shell out a hefty sum of about $5 billion in the upcoming years as part of income tax and various other tax dollars the US treasury makes up for all of its businesses. However, the actual amount is dependent on TikTok’s “actual business performance and the US tax structure,” stated ByteDance, emphasizing that there is no connection between the tax amount and the ongoing deal.
- Contribution to education: A few reports stated that TikTok is planning to set up a $5 billion education fund in the US. Although ByteDance has denied this, it went on to say that it would do the maximum it can, like it has been doing so far, to support education, by teaming up with its “partners and shareholders” to develop and create online classes with the help of artificial intelligence and videos.
ByteDance has ventured into the educational field in China also, as it has been reported earlier. It has set up English learning platforms like Gogokid. It has given some money for external players like Minerva, an institution involved in traditional higher education.