TikTok: Interesting Assumptions and Opinions

March 30, 2022

I am not a TikTok’er. I have an attention span better suited to books, the old fashioned paper artifacts not so popular among certain younger humanoids. I read “The TikTok-Oracle Deal Would Set Two Dangerous Precedents.” The main argument in the write up is that “a global data shortage melee” could erupt. I am not sure what a data storage mêlée would look like. One dictionary defines a mêlée as a ruction. Another offers a lively contention. Let’s assume the write up is based on fact, deeply informed by rigorous search, and absolutely actual factual.

I noted a couple of statements which I found interesting; to wit:

  1. “The deal would establish precedents likely to harm technology companies and their users.”
  2. “The costs are worth bearing because they will give TikTok the freedom to compete on its greatest strength: its product.”
  3. “If the US government succeeds in forcing TikTok to enter this local data-storing arrangement with Oracle, other governments will be more likely to impose comparable requirements on US companies operating within their borders.”
  4. “The evidence that TikTok posed a national security threat has always been flimsy at best.”
  5. “Absent evidence of security risks, regulators should allow American and Chinese tech companies to compete without government interference.”
  6. If the rumored deal between TikTok and Oracle becomes a reality, TikTok will quietly celebrate while other Big Tech firms brace for escalating product battles with one of their strongest competitors.

Some observations are now offered for each of these statements:

  1. A couple of examples might be helpful.
  2. What’s the evidence supporting the assertion that China centric firms compete on the “greatest strength”?
  3. What about governments imposing such requirements on firms; for example, Google and Facebook operations in China.
  4. What evidence? Why is it flimsy?
  5. This is an opinion. Are these some facts supporting the assertion?
  6. Who is the strongest competitor? Oracle? China? Outfits like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft?

I would add one other question: What is the scope of Oracle’s business involvement with China and Chinese supported entities?

Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2022


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