TOI Explains: 4 years after Trump, why is US again taking aim at TikTok?


short video platform TIC Toc Launched in China in September 2016 and became an instant hit. It went global in 2017, and was the world's No. 1 app in 2019 and 2020. Last year, Meta-owned Instagram was slightly ahead of TikTok with 733 million downloads with 768 million downloads, but TikTok remains ahead in terms of user engagement with an average of 95 minutes. Daily usage of Insta 62 minutes (data for October-December 2023).
What is America's problem?
There are 170 million TikTok users in the US, and US parliamentarian They feel that their data is not safe with Chinese-installed apps. As the BBC reported, “Chinese companies are subject to national security laws that require them to share data with the government upon request.” This is the main concern Chinese companies Throughout the West. Therefore, the lower house of the US legislature has ruled that TikTok must find a new owner to remain available in the US. The grim headline 'Protecting Americans from Foreign Enemies Controlled Applications Act' threatens to effectively shut down the app.


How to 'Control Opponent' on TikTok?
The 'adverse control' section covers the scenario where “a foreign person or combination of foreign persons… holds, directly or indirectly, at least a 20% stake”. In the case of TikTok, its Chinese parent ByteDance It states on its website that it is “approximately 60% owned by global institutional investors (such as BlackRock, General Atlantic and Susquehanna International Group), 20% owned by the company's founders, and 20% owned by its employees. – which includes more than 7,000 Americans”.
So, where is TikTok data kept?
TikTok says ByteDance employees in China can't access US user data. It claims that US user data is stored in Singapore (CEO Shaw Zi Chew is also Singaporean), and stored in the US itself via cloud infrastructure operated by Oracle. However, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that ByteDance offices in China were able to access private data of US users. That's why TikTok can't be downloaded on US government-issued phones. At least 34 US states have similar bans, and 50 US universities have banned TikTok from campus Wi-Fi and their computers.
Will this bill clean up America? management committee,
The bill passed in the lower house with 352 votes in favor and 65 against, indicating its support among Democrat and Republican legislators. But it may not pass so easily through the 100-member Senate. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the bill will be reviewed, and senior Democrats in the Senate have publicly opposed the bill. Additionally, no date has been set for the Senate vote. Meanwhile, CEO Chew is reportedly heading to Washington to talk to senators. TikTok says it is “not owned or controlled by any government or state entity” and Chinese government officials have denied any oversight on their part.
was not trump trying to do restrictions it?
As president in 2020, Trump signed an executive order giving ByteDance 45 days to sell the app or face a ban. However, US courts blocked the order on freedom of speech grounds and President Joe Biden ultimately rescinded the order in June 2021. Recently, Montana tried to ban TikTok in 2023, but was unable to overcome the free speech barrier. The irony is that Trump is now a vocal supporter of TikTok. He said the ban would “double the business” of “Facebook and Zuckerschmack”. However, Biden has said he would be happy to sign the bill once it is approved by the Senate.
Has any country banned it?
India banned TikTok along with many others in 2020 Chinese apps After the clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers in Galwan, Ladakh. Nepal had banned it last year for “content that disturbs social harmony”. Throughout the European Union and most major Western countries, it is banned on government phones and officials' devices.
If ByteDance is sold, who will buy?
Selling TikTok will not be easy. Firstly, ByteDance would need permission from the Chinese government, and secondly, the company is valued at $250-300 billion, with TikTok being its most valuable asset. Even for the largest tech companies, this is a major investment. When Trump ordered its sale in 2020, the BBC reported that “some of America's biggest companies emerged to explore bids” and Microsoft ultimately lost out on the failed deal due to a joint offer from Walmart and Oracle.
Source: Media Report, US Congress, Business of Apps, Statista

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