TikTok a year after Trump’s ban: No change, but new threats

Saturday will be year since Donald Trump he said will be banned The very popular and annoyingly addictive short video app tik tok of millions of American smartphones, citing the threats to users’ privacy and security posed by its Chinese ownership.

A week later, Trump signed executive order Chinese app owner guide, Byte Dance, either to sell TikTok to a US company within 45 days or see it forcibly removed from app stores and banned. The deadline has been extended several times, and inspiration Walmart He appeared as a supposed savior To TikTok in a deal that happened later on the shelf. At one point, Trump rudely Suggest any sale should include a US government deduction Itself.

A year later, nothing has changed and everything has changed. ByteDance still owns TikTok, which added 7 million new US users in the first four months of this year. Trump is gone, and the threat from the US government has receded — but the Chinese government is now looming over the popular app.

He says, “If I were ByteDance, I wouldn’t have brought out the champagne” James Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Strategic Technologies Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies. “TikTok can stand quite still, but the landscape is moving around them – mainly because of Chinese activity.”

China has taken an increasingly tough line in regulating its technology companies and scrutinizing the data they hold. After the failure of the IPO of Ant Financial, a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant Ali BabaLast December, the government introduced new cybersecurity rules in April that put domestic tech companies in tighter restrictions.

This month, the Chinese government banned ride-hailing service Didi from registering new users and ordered the app to be removed from Chinese app stores just days after the company’s IPO, which Reportedly challenged A recommendation to postpone it for a cybersecurity review. ByteDance also has It is said on the shelf Its IPO due to similar government scrutiny.

In the United States, President Biden in June Withdraw Trump’s executive order seeks to ban TikTok as well as another China-owned app, WeChat. Last week, tik tok and management He agreed to drop the litigation Because of Trump’s ban attempt. But Biden has ordered the Commerce Department to investigate foreign-owned apps, including TikTok.

Lewis believes that the Biden White House is as uneasy about TikTok as its predecessor was. He says the administration may issue its own executive order that leads to the forced sale. “This administration is much tougher on China than Trump, in part because it’s a regulator,” he says. “It’s not a mess.”

Trump’s moves against TikTok came amid growing skepticism in the West about China’s economic growth and technological access. According to me, many European countries have sought to restrict economic relations with China over the past several years July 2020 Report from the Brookings Institution, a DC-based think tank.

The feeling goes both ways. Rui Ma, analyst with Tech Buzz China Who follows ByteDance closely, says there has been significant public opposition in China to the idea of ​​selling ByteDance to TikTok. Some people fear that US ownership poses security risks to the parent company and the data of its Chinese customers.

TikTok may seem an unlikely target for great power competition. The app offers an endless selection of remixed songs, memes, viral clips, and singles celebrity cameos, which have been mathematically selected to appeal to your interests and tastes. Trump’s looming ban last year was met with shock and skepticism from teens addicted to TikTok. others Notice the closure paradox A platform that rewards freedom of expression in the name of punishing China, where information is tightly censored.

It appears that ByteDance does not appear to be a customer of the Chinese government. The company faced pressure from the government In recent years, there has been a lively or lewd content provided by the news app Jenri Tutiao (meaning “Today’s Headlines”). But TikTok’s ties to China remain a source of concern for the US government, especially as its influence and influence grows. The number of TikTok users in the US rose to 73.7 million in April from 65.9 million at the end of 2020, according to To eMarketer, an analyst firm. The app is a stark example of China’s high-tech prowess, beating some of the world’s largest social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, on their Silicon Valley grounds.

TikTok grew out of ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of lip-sync app Musical.ly in the United States. Under Trump’s direction, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States conducted a retrospective review of the acquisition of Musical.ly, Expires in August 2020 It is a threat to national security. CFIUS and the Department of Commerce did not respond to requests for comment.

TikTok has launched new initiatives aimed at getting users to participate and use the platform in new ways. This included last week A way for users to apply for jobs By registering “TikTok Resumes” to send to selected recruiters. “TikTok has huge data on Americans,” Lewis says. “It has their faces, their voices, their intellectual property. It has become a huge window into American society.”

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