Taylor Goodman unpacks what exactly is going on with TikTok and what the future might look like for the app.
TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app with hundreds of millions of followers that use it to post fun lip-syncing, dancing or comedic content. Nobody
ever expected the app to be at the epicentre of a political dispute.
First things first, let's outline the basics. The US administration and President Donald Trump alleged that TikTok (owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company) is spyware for the Chinese government
. The administration accuses TikTok of collecting American user data.
All this came about as early as July, when President Trump threatened to take action against China because of, what he believes to be, their irresponsible handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump has since issued an executive order that states: “China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States
.” It also calls for a halt in interaction with ByteDance by 20 September
TikTok responded to the executive order claiming that “the administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses
The social media platform is gearing up to take legal action against the Trump administration
for the executive order, claiming it is unconstitutional as they did not give TikTok time to respond to claims made about the app before the executive order was issued.
What happens next?
Since then, the US administration has demanded that TikTok be sold to an American company: enter Microsoft.
As of Sunday, 2 August, Microsoft released a blog post stating that they continue discussions to acquire TikTok “in a matter of weeks and in any event completing these discussions no later than 15 September
The blog post goes on to explain how Microsoft is exploring the purchase of TikTok in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
, meaning that they will own and operate the app in these regions.
Throughout the blog, Microsoft went on to emphasise how its acquisition of the app will equate to a major crackdown on security and the integration of digital safety precautions to protect the privacy of US user data.
The future of TikTok seems to be at the mercy of the US administration and President Trump. And whether or not Microsoft will be able to make the deal before the ban ensues is still in question. Are you a TikTokker? What do you think about the app being banned? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Do you want to know more about this platform? Then be sure to check out Understanding what works on TikTok here.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy