There are more and more signs that tiktok is ready to turn its main battlefield to Europe after the Indian and American markets have been blocked.
The latest example is tiktoks announcement on August 5 that it will invest 420 million euros in a new data center in Ireland. Last weeks news was that byte hop had planned to locate tiktoks global headquarters in London, UK.
Unlike US President Trumps siege, European politics are open to tiktok: French President Marcon released his first tiktok video in early July, congratulating French students who had just finished the exam.
Recently, in response to the news of tiktoks global headquarters moving to London, the UK Department of international trade told interface news that the UK will be a fair and open market for investment supporting UK growth and employment. Mr. Martin, also known as the chief executive of the Irish investment agency, Mr. Martin, is very welcome to set up a data center in Ireland.
There is no man-made barrier to tiktok in European market, and there is no equivalent local technology giant to compete with it. But moving to the region with the most stringent digital regulation in the world, tiktok ushers in new opportunities in Europe, but also faces old challenges.
Landing in Europe
All the interesting students in the class are using tiktok. Lisa, a 16-year-old Dutch girl, told interface news. She attended a high school in Utrecht, the central Dutch city, and has been away from school since the outbreak, spending at least two hours a day in tiktok. She doesnt use Facebook because thats what parents use and tiktok is the place for young people.. On tiktok, she follows famous fashion bloggers, occasionally takes a dance video of herself, and see what the students are doing..
Tiktoks European tour set sail in London. In August 2018, tiktoks UK team was officially established. With this as their next office building in the heart of Europe, they began their march into the European market. Zhang Yiming will consider setting up headquarters for tiktok overseas from the end of 2019. The candidate cities include London, Singapore and Dublin. People close to byte beat have already told the media that the headquarters will probably be set in London.
Tiktok has more than 1000 employees in Europe, 800 of whom work in the UK and Ireland and have offices in key European towns such as Paris, Berlin and Brussels, according to the Irish Times. When Irelands data center is up and running, hundreds more employees will be added. According to the sun, 3000 more jobs will be created once the relocation of the headquarters to London is settled.
According to CNBC, tiktok has been frantically recruiting technical talent in London since last year. In March last year, Ross Baron, Facebooks director of recruitment, left to become tiktoks head of recruitment in Western Europe. Tiktok is willing to pay the chief machine learning engineer a base salary of 200000 pounds a year, according to a technician. Competitive high salaries have allowed it to poach a lot of talent from companies like Google and Facebook.
In May this year, tiktok officially set up a European business center in London and continued to expand its enrollment. So far, the London office has become tiktoks second largest office in the world (first in Los Angeles). In June, tiktok shifted responsibility for privacy protection for European users to its branches in Ireland and the UK, where the number of users had previously been stored in the United States. Analysts believe that the move will allow tiktok to improve the independence of its European business and cut off from the North American business that may be sold to Microsoft.
The advantages are beginning to show
Europe doesnt have its own social media giants. The big platforms are basically from China and the United States. Noah Barkin, chief editor of rhodium group, an economic research firm, told interface news. This gives tiktok an advantage: unlike the United States, in Europe, it has little competitive pressure from local enterprises, and government decision makers are almost free from lobbying pressure from local enterprises.
The relatively neutral and open attitude of European politics is another bonus. At present, none of the major European countries has chosen to follow the hawkish stance of the United States. Even under the pressure of the United States, few European politicians have publicly expressed their intention to ban tiktok. Government officials in both Britain and France have said there are no plans to ban tiktok, according to a report by Bloomberg. A German government official said that Germany has not found any sign that tiktok brought security risks.
During the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in Europe, tiktok also had a strong sense of presence. In April, tiktok donated 5 million pounds to the Royal College of nursing foundation to support medical staff working on the front line of the new crown. Lonely elderly people have launched tiktok chanllenge in nursing homes that have to be temporarily closed because of a cluster of infections, the Guardian reported. A video of a 93 year old and an 82 year old dancing together has received a lot of attention and forwarding on tiktok.
Today, Europe has become tiktoks most important market outside India and the United States.
But tiktok has not been easy in Europe.
In recent years, the chief editor of European Union News Co., Ltd. has little concern about the number of Internet service platforms provided by Chinas Internet giant The main concerns. .
In February 2019, when tiktok received a US $5.79 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, the UK had already started an investigation into tiktok. Elizabeth Denham, the UK information commissioner, said tiktok may have violated the gdpr rule: technology companies must have different rules and protections for children. But tiktok is an open platform that allows adult users to communicate freely with children. According to a report by Barnardo, a British charity, some criminals are harassing users as young as eight. In April, tiktoks UK team had to ban sending and receiving direct messages from children under 16.
Gdpr is the EUs general data protection regulation, known as the most stringent data protection law in history. It provides the legal basis for EU countries to supervise data enterprises. On May 8, the Dutch privacy regulator Dutch data protection agency announced that it would investigate tiktoks collection and processing of childrens personal data. On June 30, the Danish data protection agency announced the launch of an investigation into tiktok, focusing on the scope, legal basis and security of tiktok. A spokesman for the French Minister of economy, industry and digital affairs also said that the main concerns of France about tiktok were hate speech on the Internet and the protection of minors.
Tiktok is beginning to face more and more data charges in Europe. European Parliament member Moritz Korner has repeatedly raised concerns about tiktoks data collection methods and security privacy risks in Europe. In June, the European data protection board (edpb) announced that a working group would be set up to assess tiktoks activities in the EU. The working group will coordinate possible actions for more official and comprehensive regulation of tiktoks data processing and all operations in the EU.
According to EU regulations, organizations that wish to lobby EU institutions must register with regulators and then meet with relevant members of Parliament as required. According to the registration information, tiktoks main business concerns in the EU are: the European Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU e-commerce directive, the EU single digital market Copyright Directive, the EU guidelines for the disposal of false messages, the EU audio-visual media service directive, data strategy, artificial intelligence, etc.
The website also records tiktoks only meeting with EU officials so far: on June 9, 2020, Thierry Breton, the EUs internal market commissioner, held a video conference with Kevin Mayer, tiktoks new CEO and former Disney executive, to discuss matters related to the EUs Digital Services Act and fake information. Later, tieri Brayton tweeted that tiktok was a entertainment platform for millions of people and could play a role in fighting false information, especially about the new outbreak.
Tiktok recognizes that Brussels (the European Union after it) is the source of regulatory regulations. They also want to be part of the game. Siada El ramly, a government relations expert who helped Google, Facebook and twitter lobbied in the EU, told politico.
In addition to working in the EU, tiktok has also taken action against different member states.
During the period from January to March 2020, he was a public relations consultant of tiswicz group, which was registered in the public relations department of the British finance and economics group. In France, tiktok entered into a partnership in May 2020 with the French Ministry of health and solidarity, which governs children and family affairs. Minister Adrian taquet tweeted that cooperation with tiktok would help combat violence against children and raise awareness of childrens self-protection. In Ireland, tiktok has set up a transparent center to publish algorithms to the outside world, showing how tiktok can audit platform content and protect privacy data.
On August 5, tiktok announced the establishment of a data center in Ireland for 420 million euros. This move will not only strengthen the maintenance and protection of user data, but also shorten the time for European users to load videos. The center is expected to be fully operational in early 2022, after which data from users across Europe will be stored in the data center. The Irish Data Protection Council will be tiktoks main regulator in Europe.
Zhang zhewei, director of China of the Irish investment and development agency, told the interface news that there was a one stop shop mechanism in gdpr. Enterprises that conduct multinational data processing in the EU need only be supervised by the regulatory authorities of one of the EU countries. Multinational technology enterprises will take the attitude of regulatory authorities in different countries into account when locating data centers. Irelands regulatory authorities are relatively easy to deal with.
Some multinational companies want to see the regulatory authorities before investing, while some countries are reluctant to meet. However, Ireland is relatively open and takes a cooperative and service attitude towards enterprises.. Zhang zhewei said that due to the large number of multinational technology enterprises gathered in Dublin, the Irish Data Protection Commission has been preparing for gdpr compliance very early. In the past few years, its scale has been expanding and funding has been increasing. Many data compliance firms have moved from the UK to London after brexit, and the talent pool in the private sector can also keep pace.
However, for content creators on tiktok, too much regulation seems to kill creativity. Fabian ouwehand, a Dutch entrepreneur, runs a MCN organization that specializes in mining Internet celebrities from tiktok. He told interface news that when he met byte hop in Beijing last year, he complained that the European market was not active enough because tiktoks main focus in Europe was on data protection, privacy and other issues, which led to insufficient innovation.
In June, tiktok announced that it would launch a & pound; 54 million fund to support European creators to produce content on its platform. This is the first time they have provided funding to EU creators in the hope of increasing the income of creators and even converting to full-time jobs. Before that, creators could only profit from live broadcasting or brand cooperation. To qualify for the fund, the creator must be at least 18 years old, have a certain number of followers, and publish original content that follows the tiktok rules.
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