Is the US saying goodbye to Tik Tok?
US President Donald Trump said that the social media app, Tik Tok, is going to be banned in the United States. This s amidst the controversy that many people used Tik Tok to spread anti-Trump actions.
There is a widespread belief that Trump’s poor turnout in his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was due to the support gathered by young people via Tik Tok. Allegedly, Tik Tok was used by anti-Trump supporters to convince others to reserve tickets to the rally with no real plans to come to the event. As a result, the rally was a bust. Only a few people came, as opposed to the expected tens of thousands of attendees.
The US General Manager of Tik Tok Vanessa Pappas responded to this threat with a video. She said that 100 million Americans are connected during the COVID-19 pandemic because of Tik Tok. This year, Tik Tok hired 1,000 employees in the US to ensure that the users get the service they deserve. She further said that Tik Tok is going to hire 10,000 more employees in the United States.
Also, she added that Tik Tok’s biggest investors are from the US. As such, they are committed to protecting the privacy and identity of their users. Tik Tok is focused on bringing joy to families and also providing jobs to people in the United States in this time of crisis.
This video response sends a clear message: that Tik Tok is crucial to the economy of the country. It is a company that benefits people both financially and emotionally. This statement underlines Tik Tok’s positive impact on the country amidst the pandemic.
Despite the obvious benefits, one cannot be too sure how the government is going to respond. The Trump administration is worried that Tik Tok is a spying device used by the Chinese government. It is looking forward to mitigating this risk.
Some say that it is a punishment that Trump wants to impose on China, that the ban is a response to China bringing the COVID-19 virus to the world. The statement indicates that Tik Tok has 100 million users in the United States. That is a huge number of users. Overall, Tik Tok has over 2 billion downloads. If compared to other social media giants, Tik Tok has far lesser active users than Snapchat, Twitter, and other channels.
We know that Tik Tok is growing. Despite its numbers not comparable to other social media giants, its cultural impact is what really matters and what kind of privacy the users can expect.
According to Tik Tok, user data of US members are stored in the United States. Also, the company implements strict employee access to the data, much like our data is protected if you play online penny slot machines.
The thing is, Tik Tok representatives in the United States did not confirm or deny if the US database is accessible from China. Tik Tok representatives say that they cannot answer this because of the existing laws in China. According to them, the Chinese government has cybersecurity laws where the government can ask for internal data from Tik Tok itself—and that this request cannot be denied if the government will benefit from it. Now, Tik Tok is facing a problem: it is pressure to separate its operations from China.
It is unclear what the purpose of Trump’s ban is. Earlier, Trump said that this ban is a punishment for China bringing COVID-19 to the US. He also said that the proposed ban is just one of the options to punish China for its failure to contain COVID-19.
Now, the ban is no longer just about COVID-19 but also political in nature. According to Mike Pompeo, US Secretary General, the ban is a move to prevent the Chinese government to access the private information of millions of Americans.
It is also possible to propose an acquisition of the company. One of the most notable contenders, if this happens, is Microsoft. There are talks about Microsoft mulling the possibility of acquiring the Tik Tok platform, and put it into the ownership of Americans 100%.
If this happens, this will appease President Donald Trump. It also means that the revenue will go to the US and not t China. This, of course, all depends on how Tik Tok will respond to the ban. As of today, no one really knows if Tik Tok will be banned. If the US does it, it is not unlikely that other western countries will do the same.