TikTok's days are numbered in the United States, as president Donald Trump has signed an executive order to impose broad sanctions against the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. Set to take effect in 45 days, the order will outlaw any transactions between TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, and U.S. citizens for "national security reasons."
In other words, after the deadline is reached, TikTok could no longer receive advertising revenue from American companies and it could also be removed from Apple and Google's app stores. According to experts, the app may also no longer be given software updates. This would render TikTok useless over time as it would eventually become nonfunctional. As over 100 million Americans have downloaded the app, it's needless to say that this would leave millions of people feeling very disappointed.
TikTok representatives say they are "shocked" by the news in a statement provided to the press. They go on to say that the Trump 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."
According to TikTok, the move also "sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets." They also claim that the company is weighing all options to ensure that both TikTok and its users are treated fairly "if not by the administration, then by the U.S. courts."
Meanwhile, Trump's executive order insists that the ban is strictly for national security concerns, alleging the app poses a threat to the safety of the American public through the collection of their user data. "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information - potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage," the executive order states.
What could save TikTok in the United States would be an American company buying the app. It has been confirmed that Microsoft is in early talks to acquire TikTok, among other big-money companies. Still, if TikTok is ultimately banned, its former users might turn to Reels, a new video-sharing service introduced by Facebook with features heavily reminiscent of TikTok. The latter has since labeled the former as a "copycat" service.
Additionally, Trump signed an executive order restricting business between WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and United States citizens. Based in China, the app is used by more than a billion people, and the app is particularly popular with Chinese-Americans living in the United States. According to Trump, this is another measure to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from "keeping tabs" on Chinese citizens who've moved to the U.S.
"Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," the executive order reads in part. "In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives."
In any case, the pressure is on for an American company to pick up TikTok before the service becomes unusable. If not, Reels or something else will certainly be there to take its place. This news comes to us from NPR.