Tech Trade Group Leader Joins TikTok

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Photo courtesy of the Internet Association

The president of the Internet Association technology trading group is stepping down to lead TikTok’s Washington policy store, the organizations said on Friday.

Why is this important: Michael Beckerman, the founding president of AI, is leaving the business group at a time of turbulence for the industry to join a video-sharing app that is also facing headwinds in Washington.

Details: Beckerman will join TikTok as vice president of US public policy in March.

  • He left IA after 8 years, having helped start the organization with 10 members in 2012. IA now has over 40 members, including Google, Facebook and Amazon, and six offices working on federal, state and international politics.
  • Beckerman, former adviser to Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Will join TikTok as he faces criticism from lawmakers on issues ranging from censorship to children’s privacy.
  • “He’s never really shaken by important and stressful situations,” said Mike Sommers, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, who has known Beckerman from their time on the Hill together. “There is no doubt the pressure will only increase. I have no doubt that he will thrive in this role.”

Yes, but: TThe association’s efforts under Beckerman have not stemmed the tide of recent problems for its members.

  • Internet companies suffered a tug of war and eventual loss when lawmakers amended key liability protection to strengthen efforts to combat sex trafficking.
  • And there has been an almost constant stream of criticism of tech giants and calls for regulation over the past year regarding complaints about disinformation, political advertising, monopoly behavior and other issues.
  • “As far as he is leaving because of the pressure on IA, that is not correct,” said an official at a member company. “It may sound like this to outsiders, but it is not actually correct.”

And after: AI General Counsel Jon Berroya will assume the role of interim president while the association’s board seeks a new leader.


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