LA Tech Updates: Snap Stocks Surge After U.S. Threatens to Ban TikTok
Tami Abdollah is dot.LA's senior technology reporter. She was previously a national security and cybersecurity reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. She's been a reporter for the AP in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and for L.A.'s NPR affiliate KPCC. Abdollah spent nearly a year in Iraq as a U.S. government contractor. A native Angeleno, she's traveled the world on $5 a day, taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer. Follow her on Twitter.
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
- Snap Stock Closes 6% Up After Pompeo's TikTok Threat
- Could the U.S. Ban China-Based TikTok?
Snap Stock Closes 6% Up After Pompeo's TikTok Threatsilver iPhone 6 on top of yellow wooden surface Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Snap stock closed nearly 6% up on Tuesday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. government is "looking at" a ban on Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, because of security concerns.
Snap didn't respond to a request for comment. TikTok said in a statement that it's a company that's led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and "key leaders" in safety, security, product and public policy in the U.S.
"We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users," the statement said. "We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."
Could the U.S. Ban Chinese-Owned TikTok?
The Trump Administration is "looking at" banning TikTok, the popular social media app owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, over concerns that information is being shared with Beijing.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Monday that the United States is considering whether to restrict TikTok and other social media apps after India banned its use.
"We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it," Pompeo said. "With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too...I don't want to get out in front of the president, but it's something we're looking at."
Pompeo warned American users that downloading the app would leave their private information "in the hands of the Chinese communist party."
Culver City-based TikTok, has around 30 million active users in the U.S. and is owned by Beijing-based technology firm ByteDance Ltd. The social media app has received much scrutiny from the national security community. It's no longer allowed on Australian Defense Department devices following a similar ban by the Pentagon due to national security concerns surrounding China's potential access to data.
At the end of June, India joined the ranks of those banning TikTok, restricting it and other Chinese social media apps due to security concerns.
ByteDance has said that all U.S. user data is stored in the United States and Singapore, not on Chinese servers.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported, TikTok is withdrawing its app from Hong Kong stores and making it inoperable there after the government began using broad new security laws aimed at blocking opposition to the communist party in the former British colony.
Facebook, Twitter and Google stopped processing Hong Kong's request for user data, according to the report, a move that could hurt their ad revenue.
TikTok isn't available in mainland China and the company has said that executives outside China run operations.
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Tech agricultural unicorn Plenty is gearing up to hire 50 full-time employees to run a new vertical farm monitored by robots in Compton.
The farm, which will open in 2021, will grow leafy greens and Driscoll's branded strawberries, showcasing Plenty's indoor hydroponic farming. CEO and co-founder Matt Barnard says it's more efficient than traditional farming, which is weather-sensitive and requires large plots of land.
- L.A.-based Output, a bootstrapped business founded in 2013 to help musicians overcome writer's block, announced its first ever fundraise, of $45 million from Summit Partners.
- The company serves a range of musicians from hobbyists to professionals, providing them a library of loops and samples that they can then manipulate into unique songs of their own.
- Immediate plans are to nearly double its staff and expand its product platform, with future goals of leading the evolution of digital music production.
Gregg Lehrman was no stranger to music composition. He had worked under world-famous composers such as Hans Zimmer writing music for film and TV and had produced big projects with BMG music publishing. But after setting out on his own, he found himself suffering from writer's block.
So, he said, "I made a piece of software for myself, as a music-maker — with no intention of starting a company."
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