The president Donald Trump announced that it will ban the social network TikTok in the United States, after US officials showed concern that the platform could be used as a tool of Chinese intelligence. Trump is expected to sign a decree officializing the ban today.
Speaking to reporters while on the Air Force One presidential plane yesterday, Trump said: “In relation to TikTok, we are going to ban it in the United States.”
The video app, which is very popular with young people and belongs to ByteDance, a group based in China, has about one billion users worldwide and about 80 million in the US alone. In the Asian country, the ByteDance group has a similar application, but with a different name.
US officials and lawmakers have expressed concern over the past few weeks that the app could be used by China as a spying tool. TikTok was under investigation by CFIUS, the US agency responsible for ensuring that foreign investments do not pose a national security risk.
The ByteDance group has always denied, however, any ties to the Beijing government.
Yesterday, before Trump’s announcement, the American media believed that the president would force the Chinese group to sell the TikTok. According to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the president was about to sign an official order to force the Chinese parent company to separate from the app in the name of protecting national security.
The Fox News TV channel said Microsoft was negotiating to acquire the social network, the value of which could reach tens of billions of dollars. But Trump seems to have opted for banning the platform.
“We are not politicians”
A few days ago, TikTok pledged to have a high level of transparency and, in particular, to allow verifications of its algorithms, to reassure users and regulators.
“We are not politicians, we do not accept political advertising and we have no agenda. Our only goal is to remain a lively and dynamic platform, appreciated by all,” said TikTok USA director Kevin Mayer on Wednesday.
The social network is also contested in other countries. Since June 30, the video app adored by teenagers has been banned in India, where it has spent several weeks at the top of the list of 59 Chinese apps blocked by New Delhi to “ensure the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.
Pakistan, a very conservative Muslim country, recently issued “an ultimatum” to TikTok to remove content considered “immoral, obscene and vulgar” from its platform.
With information from AFP