LA Tech Updates: Snap Stocks Surge After U.S. Threatens to Ban TikTok

Tami Abdollah

Tami Abdollah was 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.

LA Tech Updates: Snap Stocks Surge After U.S. Threatens to Ban TikTok
Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

Today:

  • 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 Threat

    silver 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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    Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia

    Keerthi Vedantam

    Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

    Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia
    Courtesy of Polygon

    Here’s how Jack Rolo describes his childhood: He was good at chess, and bad at spelling. He was good at math, and bad at reading. Rolo went on to study physics at Durham University in his native England—and despite often struggling in his courses, it wasn’t until after he graduated that he was diagnosed with dyslexia, a common language processing disorder that affects reading.

    Rolo’s experiences informed his founding of Polygon, a Santa Monica-based diagnostics startup that emerged from stealth on Friday with $4.2 million in funding, and the goal of better diagnosing dyslexia, ADHD and other learning-related disabilities. The funding includes a $3.6 million seed round led by Spark Capital, as well as $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by Pear VC.

    Read more Show less

    ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel on How the Job Market Has Shifted

    Spencer Rascoff

    Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

    Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter
    Image courtesy of ZipRecruiter

    On this episode of Office Hours, host Spencer Rascoff talked with ZipRecruiter CEO and founder Ian Siegel about how he built his company, the lessons he's learned along the way and how he's seen the pandemic drastically reshape the job market—probably for good.

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    Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment

    Samson Amore

    Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

    Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment
    Image from Aim Lab

    Riot Games has invested in virtual shooting range developer Statespace, accelerating the Los Angeles video game publisher’s efforts to dominate the mobile gaming space.

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