The app has nearly a billion users worldwide and is very popular with a young audience.
President Donald Trump has announced that he will ban the US social network TikTok, suspected by Washington of being able to be used by Chinese intelligence.
“As for TikTok, we ban it in the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard the presidential plane Air Force One.
TikTok belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance. The app has nearly a billion users worldwide and is very popular with a young audience.
TikTok was under investigation by CFIUS, the US agency responsible for ensuring that foreign investments do not pose a risk to national security.
US officials have expressed fears in recent weeks that the very popular video platform could be used by Beijing for purposes harmful to the United States. Steven Mnuchin, the US Secretary of the Treasury, said on Wednesday he would make a “recommendation” on TikTok to the White House this week.
TikTok has often had to defend itself from its ties to China, where ByteDance has a similar app, under a different name. She has always denied sharing data with Chinese authorities and has said she has no intention of accepting requests to do so.
Before Donald Trump’s announcement on Friday, US media believed the president was going to force ByteDance to sell TikTok. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Bloomberg agency, the president was about to sign an official order to force the Chinese parent company to part with the hugely popular US app in the name of protecting national security.
A few days ago, TikTok made a commitment to have a high level of transparency and in particular to allow checks on its algorithms, to reassure users and regulators. “We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and we do not have an agenda. Our only objective is to remain a lively and dynamic platform appreciated by all, declared Wednesday in a blog note the boss of TikTok, Kevin Mayer.
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“The entire industry is under scrutiny, and with good reason. Due to the company’s Chinese origins, we are examined even more closely. We accept it and take up the challenge, ”explained Mr. Mayer.
James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, believes that the security risk involved in using TikTok is “close to zero.” In contrast, “it looks like ByteDance could be put under pressure from Beijing,” Lewis said.
The social network is also disputed elsewhere than in the United States. It has been banned since June 30 in India, where it was placed at the top of the list of 59 Chinese applications blocked by New Delhi on its territory to “ensure the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.
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Pakistan, a very conservative Muslim country, recently issued “a final warning” to the video-sharing application TikTok to remove content deemed “immoral, obscene and vulgar” from its platform.
Le Figaro with AFP
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