Chinese TikTok owner ByteDance increased US lobbying spending by 130%

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ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, had its biggest lobbying quarter ever, spending more than $2.1 million lobbying the US government in the second quarter. information disclosure filed on Wednesday in the federal database.

This is 130% more than ByteDance’s spending in the previous quarter, and is the first time the company has surpassed $2 million in a single quarter since it first filed lobbying disclosures in 2019. The company spent about $4.7 million on lobbying for all of 2021, according to disclosures.

The company lobbies on a variety of issues. One of the discussed pieces of legislation was American Internet Innovation and Choice Act, a key antitrust law that prohibits dominant technology platforms from prioritizing their own offerings over those of competitors who rely on their services. He also lobbies Two Versions of the Big Funding Bill to Make America Competitive Against Chinaseveral internet privacy bills, a defense spending bill, and a bill to ban TikTok on Department of Homeland Security devices.

According to the statement, ByteDance engaged with both houses of Congress during the quarter, as well as with executive agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Defense, State, and the Presidential Administration.

The lobbying disclosure did not specify exactly what ByteDance was seeking, and neither the parent company nor TikTok immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment.

TikTok’s Chinese ownership has complicated its relationship with Washington as many lawmakers are skeptical about how securely it can store user data in the US, believing Beijing could force ByteDance to hand over the information.

TikTok has stated that it does not store US user data in China and will not share such information with the Chinese government. But lawmakers’ skepticism persists and has recently been rekindled BuzzFeed news report It found that ByteDance’s Chinese employees were able to access sensitive user data in the US. A TikTok spokesperson told BuzzFeed that the company is constantly working to validate its security standards, including through independent third-party tests.

Just before this article was published last month, TikTok released Blog post announcing that through partnership with Oracleit “changed the default US storage location for user data” so that “100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

“We continue to use our data centers in the US and Singapore for backup, but as we continue to operate, we expect to remove personal data from US users from our own data centers and move completely to Oracle cloud servers located in the US.” , the company added.

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