Home sci-tech TikTok: Trump says he will ban Chinese video app in the US


TikTok: Trump says he will ban Chinese video app in the US

by ace

Image copyright EPA Image caption Trump said he could ban the app on Saturday

President Donald Trump has announced that he is banning the Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok in the U.S.

He told reporters he could sign an executive order on Saturday.

US security officials have expressed concern that the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, could be used to collect Americans’ personal data.

TikTok has denied allegations that it is controlled or shares data with the Chinese government.

The fast-growing app has up to 80 million monthly active users in the United States and the ban would be a major blow to ByteDance.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we are banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

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It was not immediately clear what Trump’s authority to ban TikTok, how that ban would be enforced and what legal challenges it would face.

Microsoft is in talks to buy the ByteDance app, but Trump seems to doubt that this deal can be approved. If the deal is approved, reports say it would involve ByteDance by discarding TikTok’s US operations.

A TikTok spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s ban, but told American media that the company was “confident in the long-term success of TikTok” in the U.S.

The decision to ban TikTok comes at a time of heightened tensions between the Trump administration and the Chinese government on a number of issues, including trade disputes and Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

What is TikTok?

The platform has exploded in popularity in recent years, especially with people under the age of 20.

They use the app to share 15-second videos that usually involve lip syncing to songs, comedy routines and unusual editing tricks.

These videos are made available to followers and strangers. By default, all accounts are public, although users can restrict uploads to an approved contact list.

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Media captionWATCH: What is TikTok?

TikTok also allows sending private messages, but this feature is limited to “friends”.

It is reported that the app has about 800 million active monthly users, most of whom are in the US and India.

India has already blocked TikTok and other Chinese apps. Australia, which has already banned Huawei and ZTE, a maker of telecommunications equipment, is also considering banning TikTok.

Why is the US concerned about TikTok?

US officials and politicians have raised concerns: data collected by ByteDance via TikTok may end up being passed on to the Chinese government.

TikTok operates a similar but separate version of the application in China, known as Douyin. He says that all US user data is stored in the USA, with a backup in Singapore.

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This week, TikTok told users and regulators that it would observe a high level of transparency, including allowing analysis of its algorithms.

“We are not politicians, we do not accept political advertising and we have no agenda – our only goal is to remain a dynamic and vibrant platform for everyone to enjoy” TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said in a post this week.

“TikTok has become the most recent target, but we are not the enemy.”

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Media captionWATCH: Will TikTok be banned?

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