TikTok wants to take the “best step forward” through platform transparency

Facing looming regulation and public scrutiny, TikTok says its focus remains steadfast on what it describes as “our community”.

In Luck At Tuesday’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Vanessa Pappas, CEO of TikTok, spoke on a wide range of topics such as data privacy, the company’s relationship with China, and others. Addictive characteristics of an endless scroll. Her answer remains the same to most of the problems the social media platform is having – we love our community.

“We call TikTok the last sunny spot on the internet,” says Pappas. “We really promote that community, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll come to TikTok.”

In just a few short years, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms on the internet, with over 1 billion users. Because ByteDance owns the company, a government-affiliated Chinese internet conglomerate, TikTok has faced fierce pressure from the US government.

The scrutiny is so intense that in 2020, former president Donald Trump tried to completely ban TikTok from the app stores. TikTok seems to agree that this geopolitical issue is the company’s biggest public perception issue, and even work hard to dodge difficult questions about its association with China. Leaked documents uncovered by Gizmodo have revealed press discussion points, and chief among them downplaying the company’s relationship with China.

When asked on stage about keeping user data out of the hands of the Chinese government, Pappas gave only a general answer.

“We are a heavily vetted platform,” she said. “We focus so much on our efforts and practice, we really want to make sure we’re giving our best. And we do it through that effort and transparency.”

The so-called “sunny” company has quite a few challenges to face when it comes to publicizing its image. Focusing on transparency and its niche communities seems to be the way to go right now.

“There are other platforms that will have similar features, but for us it always comes back to the community,” Pappas said.

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