Is the clock really ticking on one of the world’s most popular social media platforms? It seems possibly so. Last week, The White House issued an Executive Order stating that TikTok will be banned in the U.S. if it is not sold to a US-owned business within 45 days of the order.
The Order details a case against TikTok, including claims of potential censorship and its process of gathering “vast swaths of information from its users:”
“This data collection 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.”
TikTok is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the order, arguing that it’s unconstitutional because the U.S. didn’t give TikTok the opportunity to respond.
Now, as of August 13th, President Trump issued an additional executive order directing ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to divest interest in the app’s US operations within the next 90 days.
So, how did this all happen? Here’s what we know so far.
The issue at hand
US officials have been concerned that the Chinese government could gather information about Americans who use TikTok because of the app’s Chinese ownership. TikTok has repeatedly denied these claims. Now, it appears that tensions have boiled over.
The possible sale
It’s been reported that ByteDance has offered to sell the US operations of TikTok to stop the US from banning the app. Microsoft and Twitter are two of the companies that have emerged as potential buyers. There are still a lot of key questions and details for any possible buyer to ask. Is TikTok on track for major revenue growth in future? Will Instagram’s Reels derail the app?
Could the app really be banned?
The government could use the executive order to require Apple and Google to pull TikTok from their app stores. However, these companies would most likely put up a fight. The tech community as a whole would be cautious to go along with the ban, as it would set a precedent for the government to ban other apps in the future.
On the off-chance that TikTok does get removed from the official app stores, users can still install apps on Android devices from other places. Additionally, users may be able to access TikTok by “jailbreaking” their phones, exposing themselves to additional security risks.
What do users think?
Despite everything, a majority of TikTok’s users remain loyal. They don’t want the app to go away, and they really aren’t interested in any of the alternatives. TruePublic surveyed over 10K people from ages 16 to 35 on how they feel about the possible ban, and of the respondents, 51% were against the ban, while only 21% supported it. The remaining 28% appear neutral and say that they don’t care either way.
We can’t comment on the likelihood that the app will be banned, but we do know that it’s an extremely successful platform that has a great ad suite, as well as other useful businesses offerings. We are hopeful that within the next few months, we will be looking at a more transparent social platform that champions US data privacy regulations. No matter what happens, we’ll be there to guide you along the way!
In the meantime, find out everything you need to know about Instagram’s latest TikTok-like offering, Reels.