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Triller CEO calls on all Americans to delete rival app TikTok

By | Published on Thursday 14 July 2022


The CEO of Triller – Mahi de Silva – has called on all good, honest and patriotic Americans to delete rival app TikTok from their phones. As well he might. This isn’t a sneaky effort to boost his own market share though, it is – he insists – a matter of national security due to the “meteoric concerns around TikTok in the United States”.

There have been concerns about what the Chinese-owned TikTok does with user data for a number of years, of course. This culminated in efforts by former US President Donald Trump to ban the social media app within the States. That ban never actually went into force though, and the whole controversy had died down somewhat since Joe Biden took office.

However, it ramped up again recently after Buzzfeed published an article alleging that bosses at TikTok’s parent company Bytedance over there in China do have access to US user data.

Following that report, one of the commissioners at US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission, Brendan Carr, wrote to the CEOs of Apple and Google, urging them to remove the app from their respective app stores. In the letter, he claimed that TikTok “functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data” to be passed on to the Chinese government.

Joining calls to take action against the app now is de Silva, who has published a blog post on the corporate site of the TikTok rival he runs, which – by the way – recently announced plans to IPO.

This is not simply an executive capitalising on an opportunity to give a rival a good kicking though. No sir. This is about The Kids? Oh Lord, why is no one thinking of The Kids? It’s 10pm, do you know where your children are? Yes, they’re in their bedrooms having all of their personal data hoovered up by the Chinese government.

“As the CEO of a global company whose mission is to help creators take control of their destiny in the creator economy, leveraging transformative adaptive technology, I stand with a growing chorus of elected officials, regulators, intelligence officials, other global executives, and consumers who recognise the enormity of the devastating impact of TikTok on our society”, begins de Silva’s blog post bombastically. “The danger signs abound from the leaders of our intelligence community to the most versatile and connected technology journalists”.

“Every American parent needs to ask what this social video app knows about their children and how those signals are used to get a deeper understanding of the location, preferences, and habits of their parents and the entire family”, he goes on. “The petaflops of data sent from American TikTok users start with content preferences and location information that can quickly lead to the determination of home ownership, work, and vacation schedules and a host of much more granular data on every aspect of our American lives”.

“Today, we call for every American to remove TikTok from their devices immediately”, he continues. “Additionally, Triller calls on the US government to take immediate action and ban TikTok and its Chinese-owned parent ByteDance. The stakes have never been higher”.

“Our concerns as Americans should extend beyond our wallets to the very backbone of our society: representative democracy and free speech”, he says, explaining what those stakes are. “The AI systems controlled by Chinese-owner ByteDance and delivered via TikTok are the penultimate tool to influence our youth by shaping content and perceptions favouring a pro-China agenda”.

“There is no doubt that TikTok plays a central role in enabling surveillance networks inside and outside China”, he insists. “The avenues that these technologies can access our lives are almost unlimited. This is a clear and present danger and a national security issue”.

TikTok, of course, has denied all accusations made against it, saying that the recent Buzzfeed article is “misleading” and that it takes security very seriously, with its “access approval process is overseen by our US-based security team” and that it is working on “additional safeguards on US data for improved peace of mind for our community”.

If everyone follows de Silva’s plea to delete TikTok though, how the hell are people going to share their short-form videos and all that lovely personal data? Instagram Reels? YouTube Shorts? Well, of course, there may be another option.

“Like every other US company, Triller operates under the laws of the United States”, de Silva continues. “It also may seem convenient for a company to call for the ban of the biggest company in its space. But at our core, Triller is about giving creators complete control over their content and their fan data – and ultimately… complete control of their destiny”.

Who doesn’t like to have complete control over their destiny? Triller can give you that! That’s a de Silva guarantee. Put that in a short-form video, why don’t you? But not on TikTok, obviously.

“Triller, the platform for creators by creators, has built a network of creator-first services and products”, he goes on. “It has assembled a revolutionary ecosystem to serve the immediate and long-term needs of those who seek to share their passions with the world. While our focus is on the creator and the future of the creator economy, we believe the broader future of American innovation is at risk because of our continued indifference to this threat that is literally in our hands”.

“Join us today and take action”, he concludes. “Join us and all clear-thinking, freedom-loving Americans who believe in free markets, creative freedom, innovation, and a future where we can direct our lives unhindered by dark forces”.

Got that? TikTok is the Empire, Triller is the Rebel Alliance. Or, if Star Wars isn’t your thing, TikTok is Voldemort and Triller is Harry Potter. It’s got a wand and a cool scar, which is way better than Voldemort’s stupid, snaky face.

If everyone in the US did suddenly delete TikTok and install Triller instead, of course, that would really help the latter’s IPO prospects. But I think what’s important here is that we think of the children. Harry Potter was famously a child. Think of Harry Potter.

The recent accusations against TikTok are discussed in this episode our Setlist podcast.