The tycoon suspects that the video application, very popular in the United States, has links with the Chinese intelligence services

WASHINGTON.- With nearly a billion users worldwide, and with a spectacular rise among American adolescents,

the TikTok video social network

was in the sights of

Donald Trump

, resolved to ban it.

So far this is what is known about the conflict:

What is specifically happening with TikTok?

This application became immensely popular as a platform where teens, celebrities, and artists often dance or playback over audios that go viral. All quite harmless, funny and sometimes even quite silly.

In recent days, however, President Trump suggested the possibility of banning TikTok in the United States, generating concern and doubt among the millions of people who upload or watch videos on that platform to have fun. Adding to the discussion about the ban were rumors that Microsoft and other companies would be interested in acquiring their operations.

What is the problem with TikTok?

Everything started for two reasons. The first is that TikTok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance. And the second is that the Trump government is increasingly eye-to-eye with China.

There is growing concern among White House officials that the Beijing government may access the personal information of American citizens using TikTok, because the app belongs to a Chinese company. TikTok repeatedly denied any interference by the Chinese government.

Anyway, now the thing is on fire. On Friday night, Trump said he planned to ban the app, possibly through a presidential decree. But now the owner of TikTok says he will try to clear any doubts from the North American government with the commitment to sell the operations. of the application in the United States.


The threat to TikTok is a new stage in the tensions between the United States and China

What worries Trump?

The US president and his government officials say that Chinese-owned companies pose a threat to the national security of the United States, since in China legislation allows the government to access the systems of those companies.

Previously, the White House had already expressed similar unease with companies like Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese manufacturers of equipment for mobile phone networks. And the new battlefront of that war is smartphone apps, like TikTok.

Can Trump do something?

Trump did not make clear how he intends to ban TikTok, or what exactly he means by "ban". On Friday, aboard the Air Force One presidential plane, he spoke in passing of "a presidential decree."

Your government has other options to restrict the scope of TikTok. You could appeal to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which allows you to block some foreign products from app download stores in the United States. It could also include the owner of TikTok in the list of companies that need a special license to be able to acquire supplies or services from North American companies.

Since TikTok grew out of ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of an existing playback app called Musical.ly, the Trump administration could also require TikTok to be spun off. ByteDance may also agree to voluntarily sell TikTok, to avoid being ordered.

It would not be the first time. Last year, the Chinese company that had bought the gay dating app Grindr finally gave in to pressure from the Trump government and sold it.


Smartphone apps are often part of Trump's struggles
Smartphone apps are often part of Trump's struggles

What is known about the Chinese company that owns TikTok?

The parent company is ByteDance, a large private internet company based in Beijing. The company has many very popular apps in China, like Douyin, a short video platform. ByteDance has many non-Chinese shareholders and investors, including KKR, SoftBank, and General Atlantic.

And the negotiations for a possible sale of the app?

ByteDance reportedly offered to sell TikTok operations in the United States to prevent the Trump administration from banning it from rennet.

One of the interested parties would be

Microsoft

, although no agreement had yet been reached.

ByteDance had previously discussed the possibility of selling the majority stake in TikTok to US investors, but the Trump administration appears to have rejected that course of action.

TikTok took steps to show itself as an American brand. In May, he hired Kevin Mayer, who had just come from working at Disney, as CEO. He also promoted his most prominent American investors, says he has more than 1,000 employees in the United States, and says he plans to hire 10,000 more.

Through a statement, a TikTok spokeswoman said the app's data is stored in the United States and that the company has "strict controls over employee access" to such information.

The New York Times

(Translation by Jaime Arrambide)

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. (tagsToTranslate) What is behind the conflict between the US and China over TikTok? – THE NATION

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