President Trump Issues Executive Order to ‘Ban’ TikTokAugust 11, 2020
TikTok’s impending ban in the US was expected. Yesterday, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order that could see TikTok leave the American market. The executive order comes at a time when security experts have expressed concerns over the threats posed by the app and its parent company, Byte Dance.
Security experts believe that the app is spying on Americans. They believe that Byte Dance has ties with the security personnel in China. However, the company has denied the claims repeatedly arguing they are an independent private firm.
The reason why the Federal government doesn’t believe this is because it was recently discovered that WeChat had links with the Chinese government. President Trump also banned WeChat from the American market in a similar fashion.
The ‘TikTok’ executive order forbids US companies from doing business with ByteDance. The litigation process is a lengthy one and will be effected within 45 days. This comes as good news to Microsoft. The company now has enough time to buy the business.
The president cannot ban TikTok completely because the action interferes with first amendment rights. The application allows users to express themselves freely, which is a constitutional right. The next best thing was to stop American firms from working with TikTok.
Apps make money by selling ad space and services. The executive order prohibits Americans from transacting with the app. That means in the future, TikTok’s revenues in the US will go down and the app will have to exit the market.
In essence, there will be no immediate change following the executive order. However, The US president has said in the past that he was going to ban the app in mid-September. Microsoft used these events as leverage to activate its acquisition request. At first, the request was meant to only target TikTok’s US assets. But there’s a possibility it might extend to the entire platform after a section of the lawmakers expressed their concerns over leaving part of the app to a foreign company.
However, there is also the possibility of the sale not going through at all. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States can stop an American company from acquiring a foreign company if it poses a serious national security threat.
Trump’s action has been questioned by Chinese investors. This is because it came on the same day that Facebook launched Reels – A TikTok rival. Now, Facebook wants to acquire TikTok’s customer base in the US. Also, Microsoft is intent on buying TikTok. This has raised concerns regarding America’s commercial dealings with foreign tech companies.
For millions of US TikTok users, they have nothing to worry about for another 45 days. The app is still available and can be downloaded and used. However, if Microsoft fails to acquire TikTok, the company will have no other choice, but to leave the market. It’s the sad harsh reality.
Some users have already begun looking for alternatives. Statistics show that the number of installs for TikTok rivals has gradually increased.
We await a major decision that will affect yet another foreign technology company globally. As long as the administration continues to think that the app poses a national security threat, its demise is imminent. The tension between the US and China continues to intensify as a result. Beijing has expressed its anger over the way the president handled the matter.