US President Donald Trump’s Banning of Tiktok and Its Effects to US-China Relationship

US President Donald Trump’s Banning of Tiktok and Its Effects to US-China Relationship

Tiktok is a Chinese social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Chinese-based Internet technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is basically used to create short music, dance choreographies, and lip-syncs that can last from 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. Tiktok gained its popularity in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the United States, and other parts of the world. In less than four years, given the fun and amusement Tiktok provides to its users, it has surpassed 1 billion users worldwide in less than four years.

Tiktok has an artificial intelligence to analyze its users’ preferences through their encounters with the content, and it displays a personalized content feed with the help of the behavioral algorithm. Compared to other consumer algorithm-based applications, Tiktok interprets users’ individual preferences and provides content that they would surely enjoy.

However, with the given positive vibes that Tiktok offers, US President Donald Trump has issued a pair of executive orders that would ban any US transactions with the Chinese companies that own TikTok and WeChat, saying the US must take “aggressive action” in the interest of national security.

Executive orders issued late on Thursday would prohibit “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” with the companies, beginning in 45 days.

It remains unclear what “transactions” would be banned under Trump’s executive order, but the move represents an escalation of tensions between the US and China in a technological cold war. The US president’s order comes after India’s government recently banned nearly 60 Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok and WeChat, after a clash between the two nations’ militaries.

As a counterattack, China has also blocked US tech companies from doing business in the country for years and has placed regulations on US websites and social media platforms that are accessible there.

 

User Privacy Concerns

There were issues proliferated that Tiktok gets private information from its users which shows how it negates the data privacy of every individual. However, Tiktok lists that it only collects usage information, IP addresses, a user’s mobile carrier, unique device identifiers, keystroke patterns, and location data, among other data. But then, according to web developers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk, they believed that allowing videos and other content being shared by the app’s users can really be risky. 

 

Possible Effects to US-China Relationship

Experts suggested that Trump’s proposed TikTok ban may threaten free speech and “set a very problematic precedent” for banning apps in the United States. 

Tensions are likely to magnify further. With a presidential election looming, Trump’s claim to be tough on China looks to be a key part of his campaign. As election day approaches and as China’s retaliation inevitably escalates, more tech companies, including those owned by TenCent, could come into the president’s crosshairs.

For instance, when India banned TikTok in June following a clash between Indian and Chinese troops by the Himalayan border, it also considered purging more Chinese-made apps, including games made by TenCent. If Trump jumped down this rabbit hole, that would mean no more PUBG or League of Legends for US gamers. Zoom, founded by a Chinese billionaire, has already anticipated the heat: On Monday it stopped making sales to customers in China.

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