TikTok, the short video app created by Zhang Yiming, is reportedly doing more than its part to try to prove to US regulators that it is a 100% transparent app, and thus avoid being banned in the United States. The company announced this week that it will now give access to its API to a larger group of researchers, who will be able to analyze the data to provide more information on how the app works.
“We are expanding access to our research API to U.S. researchers affiliated with non-profit academic institutions. In addition to bringing more transparency to the content on our platform, we’re eager to learn from researchers’ findings,” TikTok said on its Twitter account.
In its blog, the company explains that opening access to its API will allow a greater number of research teams to dig deeper into TikTok usage data, as well as discover what are the main trends and the behavior of users when making use of TikTok from the app.
Research that could detail the alleged highly harmful impacts of TikTok’s algorithmic recommendations. A study by The Wall Street Journal found that the app can massively recommend potentially dangerous content to users based on their viewing histories, even going so far as to offer videos related to eating disorders or conspiracy theories.
Similarly, researchers could gather information that highlights the more positive aspects of TikTok, such as how the algorithm recommends relevant content to users, or even how the app detects users’ political biases.
Information that would be vital in determining, at any given time, whether or not the app should be banned in the United States, as any information collected that relates to political or ideological aspects of U.S. users could be linked to the Chinese government, and used as evidence that TikTok poses a threat to U.S. national security.