TikTok Backlash as Congress Heads for Vote to Force Sale
Kanebridge News
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TikTok Backlash as Congress Heads for Vote to Force Sale

By Janet H. Cho
Fri, Mar 8, 2024 10:13amGrey Clock 2 min

TikTok urged its users to call Congress and lawmakers to drop a bill that could ban the popular video-sharing app in the U.S., and those users listened.

But the plan backfired. Instead of dropping the bill, which was introduced just two days ago, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved it in a 50-0 vote Thursday afternoon. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said he’s bringing it to a floor vote.

That was after beleaguered house staffers across the Capitol grounds endured hours of office phones ringing off the hook in an all-out push from TikTok users.

While TikTok the company has criticised efforts to ban it or crack down on it, this week’s legislative move prompted the social media company to appeal directly to users.

“TikTok is at risk of being shut down in the U.S. Call your representative now,” the app told its users when they logged into their accounts.

The app asked users to enter their ZIP codes and then directed them to their local congressional representatives.

TikTok was responding to a measure proposed Tuesday by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R, Wisc.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D, Ill.), co-chairs of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, that claims TikTok “poses a grave threat to U.S. national security.”

TikTok, based in Singapore, is owned by China-based ByteDance, and that’s what lawmakers object to. The measure focuses on “foreign adversary controlled applications.” It would require ByteDance to divest of TikTok about five months after the law is passed, or risk being removed from app stores in the U.S.

That would make it illegal to distribute TikTok through any U.S. app store or from any U.S. web-hosting platform. TikTok says that is effectively a ban of the platform.

A TikTok spokesperson told Barron’s that “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States.”

“The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression,” spokesperson Alex Haurek said. “This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and others have repeatedly insisted that ByteDance and TikTok aren’t controlled by the Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party, and that U.S. user data is stored securely in Singapore and the U.S.

Krishnamoorthi said on X that TikTok has “launched a massive propaganda campaign, requiring users to call their representatives, and falsely labelling our legislation a ‘total ban’ of TikTok.”

“Phones are completely bogged down hearing from students, young adults, adults, and business owners who are all concerned at the option of losing their access to the platform,” a Republican aide told Axios.

The National Security Council has called the bill “an important and welcome step” to addressing risks to sensitive U.S. data, and the White House has said that if Congress passes it, President Joe Biden would sign it.



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The Top 10 highest paid CEOs of the ASX 200 revealed

Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Jul 23, 2024 2 min

The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

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