On Friday, President Trump told reporters that he plans on banning TikTok from operating in the US using executive powers. Trump administration officials have come out in support of the president’s plan to ban the app, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said on Sunday that TikTok “cannot exist as it does.”
TikTok is a social media app that is wildly popular with America’s youth, with tens of millions of users in the US. The app is a video-sharing service with simple editing tools that allow users to create videos quickly and easily.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and the common allegation against the app is that it is a tool of Chinese intelligence, and shares user data with the Chinese government. TikTok is also accused of censoring content that portrays the Chinese government negatively. For their part, TikTok denies the charge and says user data is not stored in China, and that the app has no obligation to share information with the Chinese government.
With US-China tensions increasing by the day, the TikTok ban could serve as another way for the Trump administration to confront Beijing. Besides the trade war and economic sanctions, the US has drastically increased its military activity in the Indo-Pacific in recent months. With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent speech calling for a “new alliance of democracies” to oppose China, it seems the administration now views China as a Cold War adversary.
US officials cite national security as the reason to ban TikTok, but regardless of the motives, US tech companies will greatly benefit from the ban. Rumors of Microsoft buying TikTok from ByteDance surfaced in the media after President Trump’s comments. A report from The Wall Street Journal published on Sunday said that Microsoft and ByteDance were in talks for a possible deal before Trump’s comments, and now those talks are on hold.
The Journal reported that the administration had knowledge of the deal, with TikTok being sold to an American company being an acceptable outcome for the White House. Microsoft confirmed the Journal’s reporting and said in a blog post on Sunday that the company’s CEO had a talk with President Trump on the matter. The post also said Microsoft is interested in purchasing TikTok and is engaged in talks with ByteDance, and they plan on completing these discussions no later than September 15th.
Sources told The South Morning China Post that ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is reluctant to sell TikTok to a US company and instead prefers the app to become a separate entity, independent from ByteDance. It is not clear if this solution could prevent a ban by the White House. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said on Sunday that the president has the authority to force a sale or block the app entirely.
An outright ban of TikTok could benefit another US tech giant, Facebook. In mid-July, it was revealed that Facebook-owned Instagram plans on launching its version of the TikTok app sometime in August. Known as Reels, the video app has many of the same features as TikTok. Reels has been launched in other countries, including India, where it was released just days after TikTok was banned in the South Asian country.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last week in a hearing on antitrust laws. Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony was made public ahead of the hearing, in it, the CEO blasted Chinese tech. Zuckerberg boasted that Facebook adheres to “American values” and warned of Chinese influence. “China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries,” the testimony reads, a clear reference to TikTok.
TikTok’s American CEO Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive, slammed Facebook in a blog post published the same day as Zuckerberg’s testimony. Mayer said TikTok welcomes competition and mentioned Facebook’s plan to launch Reels, calling it a “copycat” of TikTok. “But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US,” Mayer wrote.
All of the things TikTok is accused of, Facebook is guilty of in spades, with respect to the US government. In 2013, leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that a program known as PRISM gives the NSA and FBI backdoor access to Facebook and other US tech companies to harvest user data. In the wake of the US assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Facebook and Instagram censored posts portraying the general in a favorable light. Facebook has also teamed up with the Atlantic Council, a think-tank funded by the US government and US weapons manufacturers, to remove content.
29 thoughts on “TikTok Ban: For National Security or US Tech Companies?”
Every cold war is an exercise in popular retardation.
It doesn’t take long for the propaganda to kick in does it; We were always at war with…..take your pick.
That’s how they justify giving a trillion dollars a year to the military-industrial complex.
No matter, just de-couple, everything, they are malignant.
I think that’s what China is seriously considering and anticipating.
This is the President who declared Canada a Security risk.
Actually Canada’s Trudeau government is very globalist so a natural opponent to American nationalists like Trump.
Or for that matter, in opposition to Canadian nationalists who want nothing to do with globalism.
Deputy PM Freeland even wrote an oligarch groupie fangirl book about oligarchs while still an MSM hack.
Trump just threatened the incomes of millions of Tik Tok social influencers to score Tik Tock for Microsoft. That kind of screws the app, the way MSFT screws up everything they touch.
That also pretty much throws the election for Trump as well. Although Tik Tok users took credit for spoofing Trump’s Tulsa rally with fake registrations, this kind of collective revenge attacks Tik Tok users who might have supported Trump. If they weren’t inclined to vote before, they’ve been woken up. They aren’t all teenagers or sinophobes.
Its surprising that China is letting a social media champion fall so easily. However, the CCP may also want decoupling, at least from the U.S., certainly wary of foreign influence, and generally have no business sense. They could then ban Tik Tok with no internal or international repercussions, so they think.
That said, its another affirmation of the thesis, the Western middle class is being booted out of China, and the Western elites, pushing themselves into China under Trump. Western Tik Tok personalities had a truly international audience and fairly direct access to the Chinese audience and market.
“Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said on Sunday that the president has the authority to force a sale or block the app entirely.”
Wow!! We call this American value ! We think this is free market !
In terms of modern America, this is completely consistent with American values, as America’s economic system has very little left of whatever free market elements it ever had, and is, for the most part, a fascist corporate state economy. We grant to the chief executive the powers of Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler, without a second thought.
What’s funny about this is that people are surprised. This is actually business as usual for the US, it’s just odd to see it done so openly. All of our “free trade” agreements are the same $hit as this.
With Trump we dumped the TPP for a trade war with China, this isn’t the first shot or even close. We didn’t fire the first shots either.
Most people have no idea how we are treated by China when it comes to business. This type of action is actually normal for them. If an American Business is operating inside China and they decide to shut that business down and take every design, patent, product, etc., they will, in fact they do it all the time to smaller operations. That’s the risk they take I guess and I don’t feel all that sorry for them to be honest. And that’s coming from someone who’s been run out of business three times by them. LOL
I laugh because I made lot’s of money from them while I could and it worked out well for me because I learned how to deal with them. I sold guitars, lot’s and lot’s and lot’s of guitars, thousands of them, if you bought a guitar stamped “used” on it, there was a good chance it came from me, until China got a deal on shipping and blew the doors off me by selling new guitars cheaper than my refurbished ones. Then I got into e-cigs, creating the first variable voltage box mods, China just kicked my ass fair and square on them. But I made a lot of money before they caught on and made way better ones for a whole lot less. I “skimmed” the market though and did really well. Although again the free shipping that China gets, thanks to crony deals, killed me off a little sooner than it would have happened. I could have competed for a while longer if they had to pay real shipping costs like I did. Flashlights were next, I made a bundle doing mods, creating my own circuit boards, writing the code, etc. Then the forum guys screwed me by working as designers for China just so they could get cheap “group buys”. You can go on Chinese sites and find boards I created that are flashed with code I designed, some by myself some with teams of other guys. But again I made a bundle selling lights while it was hot.
Many a night I stayed up all night talking to people in China who were on the factory floor, getting me what I needed for my businesses. Even when I made box mods I imported everything straight from China.
It’s a two way street and business is war. It’s too bad that the governments of both countries find so many ways to shoot their own businessmen. A friend of mine got kicked out of China recently, he didn’t get to take his business with him, not any of it. He’s a casualty that you won’t hear about in the press. They took his product and his patents and that’s that, suck it up cupcake. Would he still be in business if not for this new trade war? Probably not, they don’t play fair either and he was just small enough that nobody was going to protect him. (I guess he should have called Uncle Trump)
And No, I’m not in favor of “fighting back” in this typical crony fashion at all. I say let businessmen like me and yes, even my friend, take our chances without the absurd patent laws and don’t give them free f-ing shipping, give us some regulatory, taxation and insurance breaks etc. etc. etc Level the playing field on our end and if they want to shoot themselves by losing money dumping products let them.
I loved being in business with China and hated it at the same time because I always knew I had only as long as it would last and they were really scam artists in so many ways too. LOL I could tell so many stories, this is just the tip of the iceburg.
Remember this; If you let them screw you who’s fault is it? They think it’s the person’s fault who allowed themselves to get screwed. It’s a different business ethic than ours completely, but a very useful way of looking at business. Who’s family is dishonored if YOU allow someone to make a fool of you? Keep that in mind when dealing with China and you will be fine and they won’t even get offended if you remind them of this fact when they are in the middle of trying to screw you. It’s funny once you get used to it, it really is. And I believe the only time they think it’s dishonorable to screw someone, is if they are from their own family/clan, that’s about it. But if you Keep them honest, they will be honest, same as any other businessman in that aspect.
Sadly I’m not slightly surprised by any of Trump’s China moves. I told my friends Trump would F up trade with China before he was even elected, but it wouldn’t matter if it was Trump or the next guy, it’s just the way it was heading. Clash of the Titans. Too bad, it will hurt us both in the long run.
Thank you for your service on both the guitar and e-cig fronts!
Fascinating story – but that’s how business in the West works as well.
There are many stories about entrepreneurs and inventors getting screwed in the U.S. and Britain from the dawn of the industrial age.
Some of your competitors, may well have been Western-backed partnerships and shell companies.
When western businesses shifted to China, those practices went with them to an arena with even fewer protections and a pool of fast learners.
And one of the most- mentioned ways China is supposedly not free is for censoring the internet, now we are going to ban apps that slightly and indirectly might threaten state security (no evidence req oc).
All the “bad” things the US accuses other countries of doing are just fine if the US itself is doing them.
Gangsters at work.
This is how the “free market” works.
China is a one-party fascist state. We should not allow any of their software in the US. TikTok abuses privacy like US big tech, but for foreign governments, who needs them? Who needed Diane Fienstein’s Chinese spy chauffeur? It’s the same failure and lack of insight.
Google and Twitter also need to be banned from China. The platforms are active allies in China’s censorship and police state. They also censor the US president and doctors on behalf of China and big pharma.
Fortunately, the “we” gang you pledge allegiance to doesn’t GET to decide what software is “allowed” in the US. The only real effect of any attempt to ban TikTok would be millions of Americans learning about things like VPNs and side-loading, then doing as they damn well please whether the regime “allows” it or not.
The US is a two-party fascist state (where both parties basically do the same things). Not much difference.
There’s an off chance of breaking the duopoly if Trump can win one more term…
This will not help Trump on his re-election…! It is only a favor to Facebook for being a loyal NSA front since its creation…!
“With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent speech calling for a “new alliance of democracies” to oppose China, it seems the administration now views China as a Cold War adversary.”
We’ll see what Trump and Pompeo think of “democracy” after the election.
I didn’t see very many countries stepping forward and offering to join this “alliance of democracies”.
No, but coerced from behind closed doors is another matter.
Every little indiscretion that could end a political career or simply be plain embarrassing is known to the Deep State.
Its doubtful that to many ‘innocent’ people end up in politics and are allowed to stay and go far.
Maybe this is punishment for TikTok users ordering a million tickets to Trump’s rally in Tulsa. He must have been very embarrassed when only about 6000 people showed up.
“….in it, the CEO blasted Chinese tech. Zuckerberg boasted that Facebook adheres to “American values”……”
american values, lmao…… such as? Oligarchs rule the world? Censorship at their command or by algorithm? Private splendor, public squalor? Let them eat cake?
american values is a sick joke on the world
Tik tok, tik tok, tik tok, this is the sound of the clock counting down to the end of the Pumpkinfuhrer and the ratbag Pompeo. This is a disgrace. China bashing, because he doesn’t want the Chinese economy to get ahead of the USA. He is also China bashing to divert from his hopeless and murderous handling of the virus. How did the USA find itself with such a moron in charge.
Well, Trump happened right after Obama…
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