Following US President Donald Trump’s threatened ban, the future of the international video platform TikTok in the US is in limbo.
Trump had told reporters on his Air Force One plane friday night, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we are banning them from the United States.” He has the power to do so and can do so with a presidential decree or an economic emergency authorization. An announcement on this was still pending on Sunday.
TikTok is an internationally very successful video platform of the Chinese company ByteDance, which is offered in 65 languages in 175 markets. Users can upload home-made video clips or watch them from others. In mainland China there is only the censored version Douyin. U.S. officials had warned several times that data from U.S. citizens about TikTok could fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. The leadership in Beijing criticizes Washington’s actions and speaks of baseless threats against Chinese companies.
Will Microsoft buy TikTok?
Rumours circulated on Friday that the US software company Was negotiating Microsoft’s purchase of TikTok’s US business. Trump made it clear to reporters traveling with him that he was against it. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the advanced conversations with ByteDance paused after Trump’s remarks.
The influential Republican U.S. senator and confidant of Trump, Lindsey Graham, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he understood the fears of Tiktok users. But he said it was true that Trump wanted to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party did not “own” Tiktok and users’ private data. The right answer is to have an American company take over TikTok. This is a “win-win situation,” Graham wrote.
TikTok assures that the platform is about creative content that protects “privacy and security.” “TikTok is not offered in China,” a TikTok spokeswoman told the German Press Agency on Saturday. The Chinese government has no access to user data and never requested it. The user data would be stored and processed in the USA.
It is not only in the USA that TikTok is feeling headwinds, which is why ByteDance is trying to separate its international platform from the Chinese version. Only in Hong Kong was TikTok itself active, but the platform was withdrawn from the Special Administrative Zone after the announcement of the controversial new security law.
U.S. military personnel are not allowed to use TikTok on service phones
By the end of 2019, Washington had already banned US military personnel from using the TikTok app on service smartphones. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had not ruled out a ban on TikTok and other apps from China in early July. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in trump’s presence, announced that the U.S. government was reviewing the platform through the interdepartmental Committee to Control Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) and that the president would be given a recommendation based on it.
TikTok on Saturday sought to make public what a ban on the platform would mean in the United States. In a video message, U.S. Rep. Vanessa Pappas said she was proud of the 1,500 U.S. employees who worked on the app every day and the additional 10,000 jobs Tiktok would bring to the country over the next three years. In the US, TikTok claims to have 100 million users. The largest TikTok investors come from the US, the company said.
Social network users may have contributed to the high expected attendance ahead of a Trump campaign appearance in June – with many seats left empty in the end. Media had reported that TikTok had made coordinated efforts to register for a ticket for free, but not to show up for the event in Oklahoma State.
The US government’s threatened TikTok ban comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington. From the Chinese point of view, relations between the two major powers are as bad as they have been since diplomatic relations were supplicated in 1979. Most recently, the United States ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, and Beijing closed an American mission in Chengdu. The countries are also concerned about China’s handling of the Corotrade policy and china’s crackdown in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.