After mounting threats, President Trump has issued an executive order that gives TikTok 45 days before all transactions with ByteDance are banned.
President Trump has issued an executive order stating that to protect national security the U.S. needs to “take aggressive action” against the video-sharing app, TikTok. Over the past few weeks, a narrative has been building suggesting that TikTok poses a threat to both individual and national interests. As a result, and although the move is novel, it is unlikely to come as a total surprise to those involved, and especially TikTok.
TikTok is a hugely popular app with more than two billion downloads to its name. In spite of its popularity, the app has found itself under an intense spotlight recently, following claims the app is harvesting user data, exporting that data to mainland China, and all at the request (or order) of the Chinese government. In no uncertain terms, the continued message put forward by the U.S. government in recent weeks is that TikTok is a national security threat.
The executive order repeats the national security threat message by stating “TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information” while also accusing the app of censoring content that is unfavorable in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party. However, the point of the order is to make it clear that unless otherwise sold, TikTok will, effectively be banned from operating in the U.S., and in as little as 45 days from today.
What Happens To TikTok Now
In no uncertain terms, this is the equivalent to announcing a TikTok ban with the order explicitly stating “these risks are real.” The problem the order faces is that it is not that easy to ban an app in this sense. This is likely why the order does not say it will ban TikTok, but instead will prohibit TikTok from doing transactions within the U.S. More specifically, banning anyone in the U.S. from doing transitions with the app, with the threat of penalties for those who break the order.
What happens next is unclear as at the same time, there has been a focus on TikTok avoiding any repercussions if it is sold to an American company with Microsoft currently the front-runner to buy TikTok. While not directly referenced in the order, there appears to be that loophole baked in that would allow the sale to go through, as the order is in relation to transactions with ByteDance — the Chinese owner of TikTok — and not TikTok itself. If the video-sharing app is sold in the meantime, then the order would not even need to be overturned, revoked or challenged, as ByteDance would no longer be part of the equation. Regardless, the executive order has now officially started the TikTok ban countdown.
More: Beyond TikTok: Trump Admin Wants To Clean Networks Of “Untrusted” Chinese Tech
Source: The White House
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