Trump makes a decision about TikTok

Back in August, Trump announced he was going to ban TikTok because it is a Chinese owned company and may be a national security threat. 

The case was set aside for a later date of September 19th of whether or not TikTok should be banned. Many people spoke up saying that TikTok is a way for creators to create more content and for more people to get ‘viral’ with views, likes, and follows. The case was also set aside because of Trump’s ‘racist remarks’ on the company’s owners and developers of the app ‘TikTok’.  A lawsuit filed by TikTok and ByteDance as reported by CNet, states “The president’s order furthers [his] campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the US election.” 

The scheduled ban that was supposed to happen on September 20th, 2020, did not happen, because the companies Oracle and Walmart have teamed up and are offering to take only 20% of income if they are approved. Oracle will take 12.5% and Walmart will take the other 7.5%, and they will both run the popular video app TikTok.  The offer made by Oracle and Walmart may have been approved by Trump, but the offer must still be approved by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company that runs and has created the app and the Chinese government. Oracle and Walmart confirmed the deal in separate statements. “The deal, which still requires the approval of the Chinese government, came just hours before a ban on new downloads of TikTok was set to take place. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Saturday that the ban would be pushed out to Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m.” 

Popular app TikTok (Alexis Goad)

As reported by SkyNews, Donald Trump gives his ‘blessing’ to the proposed deal to save TikTok in the US. 

TikTok creators of the app have been fighting to keep the app up and running by offering out jobs and a more secure app.  TikTok said in a statement, “We will also maintain and expand TikTok Global’s headquarters in the US while bringing 25,000 jobs across the country.”

Security is a huge issue amongst all TikTok users and government officials.  The app allegedly has taken photos, conversations over direct message, and personal information from account set up such as passwords and addresses to track users of TikTok. A separate executive order, issued Aug. 14, ordered ByteDance to sell its US operations by Nov. 12, has also been under review by the Chinese government and Trump.  

TikTok has repeatedly pushed back against this allegation, noting that it wouldn’t turn over data to the Chinese government even if it were asked to.

Although the TikTok users are aware of the uncertainties of the securities of the app, the app has logged more than 2 billion downloads as of April. TikTok had 689 million monthly active users globally as of July and was available in more than 200 countries.  The officials are struggling with what to do with the app and further investigations because it is such a huge app. Many of the users have diverted their followers to follow them on other social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, causing those apps to be more frequently visited as well. This has led Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to speak out on what they are going to do.

Venessa Pappas, the interim head of TikTok, spoke out on Twitter: “We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.”

Vanessa Pappas, Interim head of TikTok, tweets her opinion about the potential ban. (Screenshot by Alexis Goad)

The tweet of Venessa Pappas has caused more thought to go into the decision-making process of the purchase and security of the app. “On Friday, the Commerce Department said that it is prohibiting certain transactions involving TikTok effective Sunday, essentially ending downloads of the app in the US.” With this, any US device that does not have the app TikTok cannot further download the app until further notice from the government. 

“Additional restrictions against TikTok, which would essentially cut off the app in the US, could kick in on Nov. 12, in line with the Trump administration’s executive order on Aug. 14 that gave 90 days for ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American company. The Commerce Department said it could have taken more actions against TikTok, but didn’t want to disrupt ongoing negotiations between the company and interested buyers.” With this, if TikTok does not decide by November 12th, 2020, the app may be gone forever.