TikTok is going on the offensive in Washington, DC, in an intensified effort to counter calls to ban the app in the US due to its Chinese ownership.

Top executives at the popular video app and its lobbyists have been briefing members of Congress, academic researchers, think tank writers and others about a $1.5 billion effort they call Project Texas, laying out details of how TikTok believes that You can address people’s concerns. who view it as a security threat, according to people who said they were briefed and media reports on the lobbying.

Some of the details surfaced Thursday. on the Lawfare security blogwhere two people provided a summary of what they said they heard at a TikTok briefing last week.

Matt Perault, one of the co-authors of the blog post and director of the Center for Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that much of the political debate around TikTok is based on conjecture and that the session The briefing was an opportunity to hear the company present details.

«The discussion should be based on the realities of planned operations rather than speculation about what those plans may be,» Perault said in a telephone interview.

He said his center received funding from TikTok, but he had no opinion on whether TikTok’s guarantees were satisfactory. He said he saw his role in the briefing as an opportunity to hear details that he and others could relay to the public. Some details were also reported by The New York Times Thursday and earlier this month for The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment on its lobbying push on Thursday.

TikTok faces the most serious threat to its US operations since 2020, when then-President Donald Trump tried to ban the app and lost in court. Some governors have banned TikTok on state computer networks, including at public universities; Congress last month voted to ban TikTok on federal government devices; and this week Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., revived the idea of ​​a comprehensive national ban.

It’s all part of a strategy by China hawks and other TikTok critics to gradually fence in TikTok and make it difficult or impossible for people to access the app in the US.

And TikTok’s problems have only deepened recently after reports about its employees. watching Forbes journalists and their employees in China accessing US User Data

Whether TikTok’s latest effort in Washington will make a difference is unclear, but it represents a change in strategy for TikTok as it continues multi-year negotiations with the Biden administration over a potential security deal to allay security concerns.

“We have changed our approach,” Erich Andersen, general counsel of ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, told the Times.

Some of TikTok’s critics say they resent the ease with which the company has increased its lobbying presence in Washington. paying for the best companies.

«China’s strategy is: seduce with money and reinforce with retaliation and intimidation,» said Keith Krach, a former deputy secretary of state in the Trump administration and former chief executive of the technology company DocuSign.

A key partner of TikTok is the American computer giant Oracle, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, where TikTok may choose to host the data of its American users. The code name «Texas Project» was made public last year. Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Among the details revealed by TikTok is that it will create a board of directors to oversee a new subsidiary focused on US data security. TikTok will nominate the directors and US government officials will review the names, according to the Lawfare blog post.