Tick Tock, TikTok

Tiktok does not get banned as planned

The popular video app TikTok was expected to be banned for download by U.S. users on September 20. In response, TikTok users made videos showing  their distress, and thanked fellow users for watching their videos. Both users and viewers were bemoaning the fact that they couldn’t buy a new phone anymore, because the app wouldn’t be available for their devices. However, when Sunday came and went,it seemed that TikTok was actually here to stay.

    Vanessa Pappas, the interim head of TikTok, released a video over the weekend in which she stated that the company was working with a U.S. tech partner in order to keep the app available. According to Pappas, this initiative will ensure that there will be “no change to our users here in the U.S. or around the world”.

    The ban on TikTok came from the U.S. government, all the way from the President, due to concern that personal information could be taken off of people’s smart devices. The app itself originates in China, and since there is a precedent of security breaches related to this country, the U.S. government decided to ban the app. According to the New York Times, active military personnel are not allowed to have the app on account of security and privacy concerns. 

    On August 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that called for further measures to be taken in response to the national security threat posed by TikTok. According to the order, the app’s ability to secure information on its users (such as Internet activity, like location data and search histories) could give the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) the ability to collect private information about Americans , posing the risk that  China might track federal employee locations, collect private information for blackmail, or otherwise carry out espionage. The Department of Commerce issued a press release on September 18 announcing that transactions involving TikTok would be halted in order to protect national security. These measures came with the insistence that “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.”

According to ABC News, the Trump administration threatened to shut down the app by September 20 unless  it was sold to a U.S. company; the president’s executive order on August 6 ensured that the app would be shut down unless such a deal could be made. According to NPR, Oracle and Walmart have teamed up, with plans to develop a new company called TikTok Global. President Trump has expressed his support for this deal. 

However, this is not, in fact, the outright sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart. Instead, Oracle will store American users’ data in their cloud servers, while Walmart will provide investment and give users the ability to shop through the app to boot. Together, Oracle and Walmart will only own 20 percent of TikTok, while the original owner of Tiktok, the Chinese company ByteDance, will retain 80 percent. 

Some users have found this concerning, and have deleted their app or account accordingly, whereas others are perfectly content to continue using  the app. According to Ethan Klein of the H3H3 Podcast, the amount of viewers and subscribers on the platform has been insurmountable: one popular user had had 7 billion views in the month of August alone. Despite the threat of being banned, then, TikTok is still largely in use and doesn’t seem to be dwindling whatsoever. 

Author: Dani Mercado|A & E Editor

Author: Kassy Klein|Copy Editor

Previous Story

Images of an empty, COVID-ready campus

Previous Story

Racial Incident at FPU