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Trump says will ban TikTok in US


President Donald Trump said Friday he will bar fast-growing social media app TikTok from the United States as American authorities have raised concerns the service could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.

US officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have voiced fears of the
wildly popular video platform being used by Beijing for nefarious
purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese
government.

Media reports circulated earlier Friday saying that Trump would
require the US operations of the app be divested from its Chinese parent
firm ByteDance, but the president announced a ban.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”

He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or an executive order.

Trump’s move comes following a review by the Committee on Foreign
Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, which investigates deals
affecting US national security.

TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch
its short-form videos, has an estimated billion users worldwide. 

Queried by AFP, TikTok declined to comment on the reports of the
forced sales, saying only: “We are confident in the long-term success
of TikTok. 

“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and
connection, including our community of creators and artists who are
building livelihoods from the platform.”

The firm this week pledged a high level of transparency, including
allowing reviews of its algorithms, to assure users and regulators.

“We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and
have no agenda — our only objective is to remain a vibrant, dynamic
platform for everyone to enjoy,” TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said in post
this week.

“TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.”

The popularity of the platform surged after ByteDance acquired
US-based app Musical.ly in 2017 and merged it with its own video
service.

James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, said he believes the security risk
of using TikTok is “close to zero” but that ByteDance could face
pressure from China to engage in censorship.

“It looks like ByteDance may be getting squeezed by Beijing, so
making them divest makes sense,” Lewis said. “They could start censoring
stuff.”

Lewis said US authorities under CFIUS have the power to unwind an
acquisition previously approved and that a similar action was taken in
2019 with the dating app Grindr after it was bought by a Chinese firm.

Source Link: Trump says will ban TikTok in US

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