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

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 surfacePhoto 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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    Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

    Christian Hetrick

    Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

    Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

    When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

    The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

    Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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    Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

    Christian Hetrick

    Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

    Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

    LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

    The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

    From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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    How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

    Samson Amore

    Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

    How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million
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    When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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