Trump administration mulling over potential actions against TikTok, including ban or forced sale; Microsoft reportedly in talks to acquire.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is expected to announce a policy decision with regard to banning or requiring the sale of TikTok to an American firm. Additionally, Microsoft appears to be in talks with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to acquire the rising social media star, which features video sharing and has become popular throughout the world. The decision stems from concerns about national security that have been expressed by members of the Trump administration as well as internationally. The application has also been banned in other countries for similar reasons, including in India.
TikTok is especially popular with youth, who use it to produce and share original content, including impressions, live performances, and myriad other forms of entertainment and social interaction. Beyond the fear of it being used as a dragnet for Chinese foreign intelligence operations, Pakistan has also threatened a ban against TikTok, due to the nature of the content shared on the platform.
The latest developments come courtesy of The New York Times who credits Bloomberg for breaking the news on Friday and Fox Business for providing the ongoing talks with Microsoft information. Microsoft employees are reported to have declined to comment on the potential for an acquisition. Nonetheless, the announcement from President Trump of an impending action, as well as the eventual decision that he announces, are actually a very intelligent political move. The administration’s comments against TikTok have been sustained, including referring to its recent hire of an American CEO as a “puppet”; however, the timing of a potential concrete action is likely to be looked upon favorably in the run up to the 2020 election.
Political Implications Of Trump’s Potential TikTok Action
Some have speculated that taking action against TikTok could be a boon to Trump’s re-election campaign. The move has the potential to paint Trump as actually having been “tough on China” immediately prior to the election. The move will likely play well with his base as retrospective voters weight his recent actions more heavily than the broader pattern of his administration’s interactions with China throughout his first term in office.
The announcement also comes immediately following a tweet from July 30 in which the President mentioned considering the postponement of the election due to the COVID-19 crisis. The tweet was unpopular with Americans of virtually all political stripes committed to the institution of regular, free, and fair elections. Today’s announcement is likely to please members of the President’s party that were displeased with his tweet from the day before. Beyond merely having TikTok distance itself from China, the move has the potential to bring it under American control. That said, the company’s response as well as China’s response ought to be anticipated and weighed in terms of the evaluation of any policy action that Trump might announce; Trump might have a short term interest in gaining re-election, but the American people ought to hope that he does not discount what comes after November with regard to TikTok as well as other policy decisions that might play well now while creating future policy challenges.
More: Trump Warns TikTok Could Face US Ban As Part of China Retaliation
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