UAE Spy Sheikh Buys $100M+ Stake in TikTok’s Owner

ByteDance is not beating the spy allegations


There have been growing security concerns surrounding TikTok and its owner ByteDance in the West and Europe but those fears are about to get worse as Group 42 (G42), Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s AI acquired an over $100 million stake in ByteDance at a $220 billion valuation.

Sheikh Tahnoon is known as the “spy sheikh” and has orchestrated cyberwarfare against dissidents and people and institutions not only in UAE and other countries. He is the chairman of G42, which has a portfolio of companies involved in everything from vaccines, driverless cars and cloud computing.

42XFund, which was setup last year by G42 with $10 billion starting capital led to the acquisition that devalues ByteDance from $300 billion.

There has been increasing regulatory pressure on TikTok across North America and Europe. There have been concerns that the Chinese government could be using the short-form vertical video app to collect users’ data and be used for malicious intent including surveillance. This recent buy in by UAE’s spy chief isn’t looking good on TikTok.

In a bipartisan move, lawmakers in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to give President Joe Biden the power to not only ban TikTok but other Chinese apps that pose security risks in America.

TikTok has over 100 million users in America had been prohibited to be used on federal devices. The EU also banned TikTok from being installed on employee work devices and suggested removing the app from their personal devices as well.

The silver lining is that ByteDance is considering separating TikTok from its parent company.

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George Kamau
I brunch on consumer tech | first.last at techweez dot com