The Trump administration attempted to place a ban on the video-sharing app TikTok on sunday September 20th. This would have been the last day US citizens could download the Chinese owned app, but the ban is being temporarily blocked by a Federal Judge.
Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote that although there is evidence of China being a threat to national security, “it was less clear that TikTok itself posed a risk.”
TikTok has over 100 million users in the US currently. In an executive order written by president Trump, he states, “This data collection (done by TikTok) 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.”
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo warns to only download TikTok, “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
President Trump announced his plan to ban the app on July 31st, just one month after teens using TikTok registered for thousands of free tickets to the President’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma to limit the number of attendees. This left thousands of seats empty after the administration promised to fill all seats.
President Trump has also insisted that instead of using a Chinese owned app people should use the new app Triller. Triller is almost completely similar to TikTok and has risen in popularity since the banning of TikTok.
The President and his son, Donald Trump Jr, are both verified and actively posting on Triller.
Trump Jr recently posted a 7 minute video on Triller attacking Tiktok and urging people to use Triller instead. He stated,“There’s an option that you can go to that’s an American company, that’s not saving your data, that’s not going to eventually weaponize it against your children.”
TikTok has admitted that their app, “automatically collects certain information from you when you use the Platform, including internet or other network activity information such as your IP address, geolocation-related data … unique device identifiers, browsing and search history.” However this is also true for every other social media app, including American owned app Facebook.
ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, has denied any sale of personal data to a third party and argued they do not store user data in China at all.
However, a conflicting report by encryption and cybersecurity company Protonmail warns, “the social media giant not only collects troves of personal data on you but also cooperates with the CCP, extending China’s surveillance and censorship reach beyond its borders.”
After failures to sell the App to an American based company TikTok’s answer to the ban is a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Their official statement regarding why the lawsuit was filed specifically, “By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.”
TikTok was originally given a 45 day period after the September 20th ban to fix any cybersecurity issues and potentially be allowed back into business with Americans.
However, since Judge Nichols put a halt to the ban, a new plan to have a US hearing decide the fate of TikTok was put into place.
The hearing is scheduled to take place the day after the Presidential election, and will officially decide whether TikTok will be allowed to remain in App stores.