President Donald Trump is barreling ahead with his
vanity project distraction tactic Gen Z revenge plot plan to ban TikTok.
The Trump administration announced on Friday that the ban on the video app (and WeChat, a popular messaging app) will officially begin on Sunday, September 20. The stated reason for the ban is that the Chinese Communist Party collects user data from the app, which poses “unacceptable risks to our national security.” (Data mining from American companies like Facebook, which apparently gets sold to foreign powers who have actually meddled in our elections is OK though, we guess!)
Related: TikTok Responds To Trump’s Summer Threat To Ban The App
If you’re already an avid TikTok user, the ban won’t affect you at first. The initial ban going into effect on the 20th will only prevent new users in the US from downloading the app and current users from getting any updates to it.
However, a full ban WILL go into effect on November 12 when the government with stop internet service providers from “enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the US,” meaning TikTok will basically stop working for everybody right before Thanksgiving.
The best case scenario to keep TikTok up and running in the US is for ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, to sell its US operations or partner with a US company. Microsoft was initially in talks to do so, but the deal fell through. Now, ByteDance has been in conversations with Walmart and Oracle in an attempt to save the app. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has ties to the president, which might work in TikTok’s favor. (We know Trump loves to get kickbacks for himself and his pals — and he spoke favorably about the company’s chances back in August.)
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Still, there are a lot of variables at play here. Considering ByteDance doesn’t even agree with the administration’s decision, and in fact claimed to have already offered “unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do,” it’s hard to say agreement will satisfy all parties — and what will satisfy Trump’s capricious demands.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross released a statement saying:
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Let’s be clear here: if Donald Trump was actually passionate about data security, there are a LOT of steps he could take that don’t start with full-on banning a video app popular with young people. More likely this is a way to give the president an easy “win” that makes him feel powerful and stirs the pot of the international community. Which, um, we would really rather he not do!!!
There’s a LOT of money on the line right now for TikTok creators and advertisers who have built entire businesses out of the app. In a pandemic with unprecedented levels of unemployment and a teetering economy, it’s hard to believe the President of the United States would shut that down.
Except, you know, when you remember who the POTUS is right now…
[Image via TikTok & WENN/Instar]