TikTok goes on Washington hiring spree, as US Senator proposes ban on app for Government employees

TikTok might be making itself at home in Los Angeles at the moment, but it could possibly do with some more friends in Washington.

Yesterday (March 4), Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri told the media that he was introducing new legislation that would see U.S Government employees banned from using the ByteDance-owned video sharing app.

Hawley, striking an alarmed tone, also made the allegation that Beijing-based ByteDance is sharing TikTok users’ data with China’s government.

“TikTok is scooping up immense amounts of data and they are sharing it with Beijing; they are required to,” he said.

“For federal employees, it really is a no-brainer. It’s a major security risk.”

Senator Josh Hawley

“For federal employees, it really is a no-brainer. It’s a major security risk…do we really want Beijing having geolocation data of all federal employees? Do we really want them having their keystrokes?”

Hawley’s proposal comes several months after Senator Marco Rubio asked the US Government to launch an investigation into TikTok over censorship concerns, which was followed by a lambasting by the National Music Publishers Association for allegedly having “consistently violated US copyright law and the rights of songwriters and music publishers”.

The following month, a report suggested that ByteDance wanted to separate TikTok from its China-based operations ‘amid a US national security panel’s inquiry into the safety of the personal data it handles.’

So, what is TikTok planning to do to improve its relationships with decision makers in Government? By hiring people, it seems, who have good relationships with decision makers in Government.

According to several job posts spotted by MBW, TikTok has launched a heavyweight recruitment drive for some influential Washington-based policy experts.

TikTok is currently hiring for:

  • Director, Federal Government Affairs, who will be responsible for “engaging with elected officials and other stakeholders in U.S. politics and government.”
  • Director, State Government Affairs, to act “a point of contact for elected officials and other stakeholders in State politics and government.”
  • Director, Public Policy Communications, “who can work across functions to advance our agenda on public policy issues”. The ideal candidate, says the ad, “will have deep Washington DC and technology press ties and a passion for technology policy issues”.
  • Director, Privacy Policy Counsel, “to provide advice on regulatory developments, smart regulation, and emerging concepts related to privacy.”
  • Director, Intermediary Liability Policy: “This position provides candidates with a unique opportunity to work with colleagues on the business, engineering, legal, and policy teams on Public Policy issues critical to protecting TikTok’s users and ensuring key government officials, and to advance the firm’s commercial strategy.”
  • Director, Technology Policy. “The ideal candidate for this role”has deep experience drafting and analyzing regulations and legislation with an eye towards impact to our community of users and business innovation,” according to the ad.
  • Last but not least, TikTok is hiring for a Director, IP Policy. “Candidates must be policy experts with experience analyzing legislation, regulation and policy trends, developing policy research, and drafting legislative text,” states the ad.

So there you have it – TikTok’s moving to Washington, just as its parent company officially launches its music streaming service Resso in India.

This following a year in which TikTok was the world’s second most downloaded app, generating around $40m per month.

In spite of TikTok’s growing unpopularity amongst certain U.S lawmakers, the company is making in-roads in the global recorded music industry, having made the recent hire of Tracy Gardner, to negotiate with labels in addition to a subsequent licensing deal with indie label agency Merlin.

TikTok’s music industry negotiations are being led by the firm’s Global Head of Music, popular former Warner exec, Ole Obermann.

Not too mention securing an exclusive with K-Pop mega stars BTS and a BRIT Awards partnership in the UK, which saw a red carpet performance by America’s Sweetheart Lewis Capaldi.Music Business Worldwide

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