Trump Issues Executive Order to Ban Tiktok in the US

The global internet sensation mobile app – TikTok – is facing a potential ban in the United States after the issuing of an executive order by President Donald Trump and his administration citing national security concerns. Trump administration has ordered a 45 days ultimatum until September 15th, 2020 for the Chinese company to sell the app to a US-based company or be banned in the country after which “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” will be prohibited. 

Originating from Beijing, China, TikTok is a short video sharing app developed and founded by the Chinese company ByteDance. The app gained momentum worldwide among youth, allowing for them to feature their talents – from dance videos to political discourse – with other like-minded people. It has over 1 billion active users, with some 100 million users from the US. TikTok was launched in 2017, and eventually acquiring the popular lip-sync app which resulted in its current global recognition. 

As per the executive order, Trump administration asserts that TikTok jeopardizes privacy policy, censors information, and reveals information of US users to the Communist country of China. “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” reads the executive order. 

Critics also allege the hasty decision to ban the app stimulates from Trump’s failed election rally in Tulsa, where users of TikTok and K-pop fans flooded attendance registrations, leaving hundreds of empty seats.

Trump’s initial decision to entirely ban the app was soon substituted by allowing an in-country purchase. Following the alteration, US-based company Microsoft announced its plans to purchase TikTok in the United States, a move supported by Trump. Microsoft has ensured the private data of American users will be transferred and stored in the United States and will also subsequently delete the user’s data from foreign servers. They plan to enhance the existing privacy and user experience by “adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”

A spokesperson from TikTok responded by stating their shock at the executive order, and said, “We are here for the long run. Continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.” The app has openly laid out their privacy policy and has denied the speculation of revealing information to China. However, the company claims that the Trump administrations have ignored their attempts to address the concerns and have filed a lawsuit against them citing it ‘violates due process protections, exceeds the scope of sanctions rules, and offers no evidence for its claims that TikTok presents a national security threat.’

Along with TikTok, the messaging app WeChat has been issued with a ban in America. The app was recently banned in India, along with 59 other apps, citing a threat to national security but also as a retaliation of India and China’s border standoff.




Feature Image Via Unsplash.

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