What’s going on with TikTok?
By Darby Callahan (TheLorian)
The clock is running out for the popular application TikTok. ByteDance is being forced to sell its TikTok U.S. brand due to national security concerns. China has also been known to interfere with users who go against the Chinese government such as the following case;
“TikTok’s blunder in temporarily taking down a video of 17-year-old Feroza Aziz criticizing China’s inhumane treatment of Uighur Muslims last week inflamed suspicions about the intentions of ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company. Many young people want to be “TikTok famous” but TikTok is at risk of becoming infamous,” (Financial Times).
President Trump is putting pressure on ByteDance to sell the app in the coming days and has reportedly agreed to extend the deadline to Sept. 27 from the original deadline of Sept. 20. Regarding the extension of the deadline, Barrons.com reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce mentioned that, “This decision was taken ‘in light of recent positive developments,’ according to a press release issued shortly after Chinese-owned TikTok confirmed a proposed agreement on the management of its US operations involving Oracle as a technology partner and Walmart as a business partner.”
The question remains, what if TikTok does not sell? If ByteDance cannot sell to a U.S.-based company, they will be shut down and TikTok will no longer be available in the United States. According to reuters.com, “U.S. President Donald Trump does not want China’s ByteDance to maintain a controlling interest in TikTok because it could put Americans’ personal information at risk.” This statement comes a few hours after the New York Times stated that President Trump was reviewing a potential deal that came on Sept. 17. The New York Times reports, “They are still discussing the technical terms.”
I reached out to Richard Hernandez, a junior at Loras College, who is a TikTok user with 45,000+ followers. He says that he has been a user of TikTok since it was first founded under the name Musical.ly. He said that he is not worried about the application being banned, and he does not think the app will actually be banned, but instead go through many changes. He has been getting updates from the TikTok CEO on social media.
In regards to Chinese interference with users, Hernandez states, “I never worried about Chinese interference with my videos. When it comes to thinking about making videos I just make them and provide entertainment for my followers and make content on a daily basis where it may be a Chinese based app but I haven’t had any problems using it or with my videos.”
If the app does not get bought out by a United States company, Hernandez said that he will notify followers “to subscribe and follow my other social medias such as Instagram, snapchat and will start up a YouTube and make vlogs on there as well as joining Triller.”
Overall TikTok and any U.S. company need to reach a final Trump-approved deal by Sept. 27, which is Sunday. The concern is that China is overstepping their bounds and spying on Chinese and American citizens through the app. The thought is that this is could lead to national security concerns, especially during an election year in which the Chinese government may work to undermine a candidate and manipulate the election. Regardless of who wins the election, we do not want any foreign involvement in our federal elections. I am not speaking out about this issue for one side or the other. Both parties should be working to get China off our mobile devices, and the only way that is going to work is if U.S.-based companies buy out apps such as TikTok. We have already seen how one foreign entity can altar an election when it has been reported that the Russians have interfered in our elections in 2016, and we do not want any more reports or accusations of another foreign entity interfering with our elections every two to four years.