President Trump Announces Planned Ban on Chinese-Owned TikTok App
President Donald Trump announced that he’s preparing to ban the video app TikTok on national security grounds on Friday, citing the concerns over the Chinese app’s connections to Chinese government security, and the potential use of the nominally innocent app to surveil American citizens.
The President had made the announcement on an Air Force One flight to the press pool, later confirming that the media could report on the policy move on the record.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” said the President bluntly.
TikTok is a viral video app marketed to teenagers and young adults that allows users to create short and edited videos. It’s frequently used for memes, pranks, and simple political content. It’s owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which is obligated to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services under the laws of China.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously spoken of security concerns involving the Chinese app. Microsoft had recently offered to purchase the app from its parent company, but the surveillance and security surrounding it appear to have shelved such a possibility for now.
There are genuine surveillance and data-mining concerns with TikTok, but it’s also probably worth considering that banning the app will allow neoliberal tech monopolies such as Facebook and Apple to share up an even larger share of the demand for platforms designed for similar content.