TikTok: Rumors vs. Facts Regarding the U.S. Ban
Launched in September 2017 by the China startup ByteDance, TikTok originally appealed to tweens, teens, and young adults who had a short song, skit, or message to share. The social media app has provided a creative outlet for friends and wider circles to share ideas, performances, and memories.
In 2020, the popularity and familiarity with the platform grew as it became a means of expression and reducing stress for doctors, nurses, and other medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Trump Announces U.S. Ban of TikTok in Early August 2020
On August 6, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order to block transactions with TikTok’s parent corporation ByteDance. The ban was not immediate and was set to go into effect after 45 days, while TikTok continued discussions and negotiations for a TikTok cybersecurity Oracle deal.
TikTok has become a worldwide phenomenon. So the announcement resulted in confusion and waves of disappointment across the country and around the world.
Sorting Out Rumors vs. Facts for the Possible U.S. TikTok Ban
Just about everyone has tried to separate the rumors from reality since President Trump’s executive order, so we thought we would share what we know about what is rumor and what is fact.
Rumor vs. Fact #1
The Rumor: Many people originally thought the executive order banning TikTok would go into effect immediately or at some point before the 45-day deadline if negotiations fell through.
The Reality: The executive order allowed TikTok and its parent corporation 45 days to devise and implement a solution, particularly concerning its talks with Oracle leaders for a buyout of ByteDance’s U.S. interests. As of September 23, 2020, the deadline has passed, allowing TikTok and Oracle to continue negotiations.
Rumor vs. Fact #2
The Rumor: Upon signing the executive order, President Trump expressed concerns that the Chinese-owned smartphone app was a threat because it could capture detailed information from U.S. citizens. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was freely gaining access to the personal and proprietary information of more than 800 million Americans.
The Reality: In July 2020, Zak Doffman at Forbes explored U.S. allegations of data mining against TikTok, which the social app firmly denies. The fact is that like any social media app that collects personal information — see Facebook — TikTok users freely offer up personal information. Doffman shares that the concern over TikTok’s access to U.S. information is not unreasonable when information allows access to powerful insights of a nation’s people.
Rumor vs. Fact #3
The Rumor: The ban would not have caused huge issues and might have protected users.
The Reality: The fallout from such a ban might have proven considerable. While no new users could download TikTok, users who had already downloaded the app could continue to do so since app stores were not ordered to discontinue them. With that, U.S. users would have no official TikTok support and would be vulnerable to viruses and other attacks.
Rumor vs. Fact #4
The Rumor: Speculation has circulated that different U.S. tech companies have expressed interest in buying TikTok’s U.S. interests, including Microsoft.
The Reality: As of September 21, 2020, the ban was temporarily lifted surrounding a possible deal with Oracle and Walmart that would see the two organizations buy a 20% stake in the new TikTok Global. The deal is still in the works, so the ban’s status now and in the future is unclear and largely depends on a successful sale that satisfies U.S. leadership regarding national security concerns.
Want To Learn More About Safety Using TikTok and Other Apps?
If TikTok has served as a distraction for you while working remotely, or the teens in your house rely on it to maintain social outlets during coronavirus lockdowns, you want to stay up-to-date on the latest news to stay safe and secure.
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