Il CEO at TikTok Shou Zi Chew met some senior officials in Europawhere Chinese social media expects to find less resistance than seen in the United States. Although the content moderation rules approved by the European Parliament could have an impact on TikTok’s business.
The CEO of TikTok in Europe, which seems less hostile than the USA
Over the past month, TikTok has suffered several backlashes from American politics. From the Kansas government to universities, through the federal government and the House of Representatives (which is fighting over every law but this one): many institutions have banned TikTok from smartphones. All decisions came after the dismissal of four employees, who allegedly used the app to track American journalists.
Europe, on the other hand, although it is much stricter on Big Tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, has not officially commented on the matter. Italy has in the past prevented the collection of children’s data on the app and more recently started to investigate parent company ByteDance after what happened in America. But from the community point of view, no strong stance.
With Chew on a European tour to meet top Union officers (which Bloomberg calls a “offensive to fascinate”), it seems that Europe will continue to be more forgiving with the app than the US.
TikTok is widely used by Millennials and especially by Gen Z, who would not like restrictions for the app. But more than courting young voters, Europe’s softer stance on TikTok compared to the US reflects the position on China and its companies in general. The United States has long had a direct confrontation with Beijing’s technology companies, which are successful in Europe.
Choose which side to be on
However, the EU may soon find itself forced to choose sides in an increasingly heated economic conflict. The member of the US communications commission, Brendan Carrrecently said that: “it is important that Brussels take swift action to protect consumers.”
Some members of the European Parliament like Margrethe Vestager raised the issue of surveillance of journalists with Chew. But on the other side of the Atlantic you press for tougher decisions. This year could change the EU’s relationship with TikTok: we will keep you updated.