ByteDance has told a Mumbai court that freeze on its bank accounts by authorities in a probe of alleged tax evasion is harassment of the internet company and was done illegally, reported news agency Reuters. The Income Tax department in March ordered HSBC and Citibank to freeze bank accounts of ByteDance India as they are probing a few of the financial dealings. Chinese internet firm has challenged the freeze on bank accounts in a local court.
Chinese authorities summoned Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance and eight other local tech firms over concerns of ‘deepfake’ tech on their content platforms. The country’s cyberspace administrator, in a statement, said that the officials of the public security ministry had a meeting with the tech firms to discuss “security assessments” and potential problems with deepfakes and audio social apps. Deepfakes use AI to create hyper-realistic but fake videos or audios.
ByteDance, famous for its short video app TikTok, has begun hiring for a dozen roles related to semiconductors engineers, both hardware and software. The Bejing-based firm, valued at $ 180 bn, explores initiatives in the field which includes building server chips based on Arm designs. ByteDance’s new business is aligned with the top priority for China’s Communist Party which rules the nation with an iron fist. It is also exploring an IPO for some of its businesses.
ByteDance, the parent company of controversial yet successful app TikTok, is in preliminary talks to list the short video app on the New York Stock Exchange, China’s Global Times newspaper tweeted, citing sources and media reports. “#ByteDance is in preliminary talks to list #TikTok in #NYSE, according to sources, media reports.” said the Tweet from the official handle of the China-based newspaper. No further details are available, yet.
ByteDance, the owner of video-sharing app TikTok, has filed a petition with a USA Court challenging outgoing Trump administration’s order set to take effect on Thursday ordering it to divest TikTok. The Chinese startup, in the petition, said that the order and a finding by a USA agency that TikTok represented a security threat were unlawful and violated rights under the USA Constitution. Trump in an Aug 14 order directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Friday blocked TikTok, appending into the list of countries who oppose the ByteDance-owned video-sharing platform. The PTA said the step was taken after the authority received complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content on the app. The authorities issued a final notice to the app and gave a considerable time to respond and comply with the instructions but it failed.
A former Chinese govt official was in charge of making decisions on what content should be allowed on TikTok. This raises questions about company’s previous claims that the Chinese govt had no influence over its operations. Cai Zheng, who worked at the Chinese Embassy in Tehran from 2013-18, ran the global content policy team at ByteDance until earlier this year. During Cai’s stint, TikTok was accused of removing videos critical of the Chinese govt.
ByteDance has applied for a tech export licence in China as it races finalise a deal with Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc for its short video app. The firm submitted the application to Beijing’s municipal commerce bureau and is waiting for a decision. The application comes about a month after China revised its export control policies for the first time in 12 years, in a manner which would hinder TikTok’s deal with Oracle and Walmart.