Back in August, President Trump announced that Chinese owned TikTok and WeChat would be banned from operating in America. While WeChat isn’t overly popular in America, with around 3.3 million users a month, over 20 million Americans use TikTok every month. https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-addressing-threat-posed-tiktok/
Compared to the estimated 190 million users on Facebook, TikTok might appear less popular. Still, we need to remember that it was only launched on the American market in 2017. It has exploded.
Why is Trump concerned about a social media app?
There have long been discussions raising the concern of Chinese owned social media platforms being a potential security risk. It’s pretty standard for social media platforms to track user location data, require access to microphones and cameras.
So while it is OK for Americans owned Facebook or Twitter to have access to American data, the line is drawn for overseas controlled companies. Of course, China has banned both Twitter and Facebook (as well as Google and YouTube). The Chinese government has strict control over the internet. It forbids anything that is considered to be counter to the interest of the state.
Is that it for TikTok?
Trump’s executive orders gave the parent companies until 15 September 2020 to sell the social media platforms. A few days before the ban would come into play, the US Treasury received a submission.
American multinational computer tech company Oracle confirmed that it had won a bid to buy ByteDance (the parent company that owns TikTok). While this may give American video creators reprieve, the Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin requested revisions. https://www.tiktok.com/en/
Ban To Come Into Effect Sunday 20 September?
When asked about a decision, President Trump responded, “But nothing much has changed. We’ll make a decision soon.” However, he has also admitted the TikTok is hugely popular and “and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy.”
So while it looks like not much can halt the Sunday’s ban, it is essential to remember that the prohibition is only for new downloads. TikTok is still going to function for any current users. However, TikTok says that when bans on particular transactions come in on 15 November, the app will effectively not work for American users.
We must continue to wait to watch the drama unfold. Of course, in the meantime, Instagram hasn’t missed a beat and has launched “Reels” their answer to TikTok videos. They don’t have the most outstanding dance trends yet, but I guess it’s something to do in the meantime.