Trump to Ban TikTok in US Aug 1, 2020 19:16:22 GMT
Post by Admin on Aug 1, 2020 19:16:22 GMT
President Donald Trump said he will take action as soon as Saturday to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.
Mr Trump's comments came after published reports that the administration is planning to order China's ByteDance to sell TikTok. There were also reports on Friday that software giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app.
On Friday, as he was leaving the White House to go to Florida, Mr Trump told reporters, "We're looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things.”
Later, on his return from Florida on Air Force One, Mr Trump told reporters, "As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States”.
The example of Japan’s cultural soft power is worth keeping in mind today, as TikTok, owned by the Chinese firm Bytedance, has found itself in the center of a wider conflict between the United States and China. Amid wide-ranging tensions involving military competition in the South China Sea, human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, trade and intellectual property disputes, and the handling of the coronavirus, the video-sharing app better known for launching viral dance crazes has taken on a surprisingly prominent role. The brewing dispute over the app went nuclear on Friday, when President Trump suggested he would use an executive order to ban the app within the United States. Bytedance is now reportedly planning to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok entirely.
The situation has been building to this for some time, with American policymakers raising concerns that the Chinese government could use the app to collect data on its American users. The House voted in July to bar TikTok from government-issued devices used by federal employees. Some American companies, like Wells Fargo, have also banned the app from corporate devices. ByteDance is also currently the target of a national security investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.
India already banned TikTok in June amid a border dispute with China. And Pakistan is considering doing the same, citing “immoral, obscene, and vulgar content.” It’s not exactly clear whether Trump actually has the legal means to ban TikTok, but at the very least, he can damage its global brand and help make it toxic to investors.
Trump’s threat comes amid reports that Microsoft is in talks to by TikTok from ByteDace. TikTok has been working for some time now to de-emphasize its Chinese origins with steps like bringing in American CEO Kevin Mayer from Disney, and withdrawing from Hong Kong in order to avoid complying with government data requests under a new Beijing-backed national security law. Faced with intimations that it might misuse personal data, the company has stressed repeatedly that it stores Americans’ information in the United States and Singapore, not China. But this has done little to assuage critics in Washington, including both Republicans and Democrats.