What IS The Truth Behind “Trump vs. TikTok”

President Trump has taken on assorted list of politicians, celebrities, talk show hosts and even influencers since being in office. But he has never taken on an app. TikTok, the annoying app you see people 13 years old all the way to 90 years old making short little videos on to pass the time has come under attack from the President. So much so that he might ban it in the United States. But what is the real truth behind this?

Well the popular app where kids create dance challenges or film fails is under scrutiny right now due to its ties to China.


US President Donald Trump has ramped up his campaign against the short-form video app. On Friday, the president was reportedly considering an order that would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company to divest its US operations.  Microsoft is reportedly interested in buying the app, according to The New York Times.

Hours after those reports, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he’d prefer to ban the app, an idea his administration floated earlier this month. “We’re banning them from the United States,” the president said, according to CBS News. A transcript of the pool report (which is a report shared by media outlets) said Trump suggested he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to ban the app. (The White House didn’t immediately respond to a separate request for comment about the remarks.) 

The morning after Trump’s remarks, Reuters reported that ByteDance had agreed to completely divest TikTok’s US operations as part of a proposal to the White House that would put Microsoft in charge of protecting the data of TikTok’s US users. (Microsoft declined to comment on that report; the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment; and TikTok and ByteDance said only that TikTok in the US isn’t “planning on going anywhere” and that TikTok is “committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety.”)

However, Facebook said the same thing back in the day and they have been known to not only spread false information but also be easily corrupted by other countries. The other big social media app, Twitter, is the digital sesspool of the internet.

The US isn’t alone in its concerns. India has already banned TikTok, and Australia is also considering blocking the app.

The rising concerns come as TikTok sees its popularity explode. The app has gotten a new boost from the coronavirus pandemic, drawing in people looking to escape the boredom of lockdown. It’s been downloaded more than 2 billion times, according to research firm Sensor Tower, with 623 million coming during the first half of this year. India had been its largest market, followed by Brazil and the US. (TikTok isn’t available in China, where ByteDance distributes a domestic version called Douyin.)

In a move that could smooth things over with some lawmakers, TikTok on July 22 said it plans to hire 10,000 people in the US over the next three years. The company said it would add roles in engineering, sales, content moderation and customer service in California, New York, Texas, Florida and Tennessee. 

Here’s what you need to know about the political backlash against TikTok:

Politicians are concerned that the Chinese government could use the video app to spy on US citizens. In an interview with Fox News that aired July 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said users who download the app are putting “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Trump cited a different reason: punishing China for its response to the coronavirus. Asked about Pompeo’s remarks, Trump confirmed the US is considering a TikTok ban. “It’s a big business,” Trump said during an interview with Gray Television. “Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world, is disgraceful.” He followed up on July 31 with his comments aboard Air Force One.

Trump’s and Pompeo’s remarks came after TikTok users and K-pop fans said they helped spoil attendance at a June presidential rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by reserving thousands of tickets online with no intention of attending. Trump supporters have a visible presence on TikTok, so banning the app could also work against the president during an election year.

On July 12, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox Business that TikTok and messaging app WeChat “are the biggest forms of censorship on the Chinese mainland” and to expect “strong action on that.” He didn’t specify if a ban was coming.

What do you think? Should the US ban TikTok? Let us know in the comments.

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