Trump Bans TikTok in U.S.
By John Mikko Velasquez
In early August, President Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok in the United States, unless TikTok is completely sold to an American buyer, by mid-September. Trump signed this executive order because he claimed that TikTok is a threat to national security.
TikTok is a popular, video-creation and sharing app that is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. ByteDance originally bought an app called Musical.ly - which became TikTok - from a company in Shanghai. Using TikTok, people can sing, dance, and act with a song in the background. In addition, a number of editing features can make editing a breeze. TikTok has been a massive success for ByteDance.
If no American buyers buy TikTok from ByteDance by mid-September, then TikTok will be banned in America. This will affect the millions of TikTok users in America. This is because Apple and Google’s app stores will have to pull TikTok from their digital shelves while U.S advertisers would be forced to cut ties with it. As a result, TikTok will have no more software updates, making it unable to keep working on American devices. Also, if this version of the executive order remains unchallenged, then it could result in a fine of $300,000 per violation.
This is an unprecedented move by the Trump administration because it involves the ban of a popular app. Many regard the U.S. as a country with a lot of freedom, including an open business environment for businesses to grow and develop. However, this move of banning an app is taking a page out of the Chinese communists’ playbook. According to President Trump, TikTok poses a threat to national security. President Trump stated that data on U.S. citizens could “potentially [allow] China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” This is because in 2017, China’s national intelligence law requires full cooperation from all Chinese firms with government intelligence services when requested. This means if the ruling Communist party in China asks ByteDance to hand over all of the data of U.S. users, then ByteDance is unable to deny their request. Also, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill which bans TikTok use on all government-issued devices. In addition, TikTok has also been banned in India, after its
Ministry of Information claimed that it posed a threat to national security.
However, U.S. officials have yet to provide any evidence that shows that ByteDance shared TikTok U.S. user data with the Chinese government. After Trump signed the executive order, TikTok said that they were “shocked” by Trump’s decision of banning TikTok. According to an NPR report, TikTok will file a lawsuit against Trump. The lawsuit will likely argue that the Trump administration’s action was unconstitutional because the claim that TikTok is a threat to national security is unfounded. Moreover, TikTok could not respond to the allegations because the Trump administration did not give them due process. This executive order forces ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American buyer.