TikTok + ByteDance Ban By Donald Trump Explained!

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US President Donald Trump just signed an executive order, highlighting the dangers of TikTok and ordering a ban of ByteDance, calling it a national emergency!

Find out what this new Trump ban means for TikTok users, and ByteDance!


TikTok Triggers ByteDance Ban

On 6 August 2020, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order, blocking everyone under US jurisdiction from transacting with TikTok owner, ByteDance Ltd.

This effectively bans the usage of TikTok in the United States and by US citizens worldwide. It also prohibits business dealings with ByteDance.

TikTok + ByteDance Ban By Donald Trump Explained!

Trump called it a national emergency, citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the National Emergencies Act and Section 301 of Title 3, United States Code.

His executive order claims that TikTok collects and potentially shares personal and proprietary data of American citizens with the Chinese Communist Party, while censoring content deemed sensitive to the CCP, pointing out that :

These risks are real.  The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces have already banned the use of TikTok on Federal Government phones.  The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”  American companies and organizations have begun banning TikTok on their devices.  The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.

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ByteDance Ban : How Does It Affect TikTok?

Interestingly, while Trump’s executive order explicitly mentions TikTok, it doesn’t actually ban TikTok. It only bans transactions with TikTok’s owner – ByteDance and its subsidiaries.

In other words, if Microsoft buys TikTok from ByteDance, TikTok can continue to operate, as long as the deal gets done soon.

This is different from the concurrent WeChat and Tencent Holdings ban, which specifically bans both WeChat (the app) and its owner (Tencent Holdings).

Of course, targeting ByteDance and its subsidiaries will include the US-based TikTok, and forbid any financial transfers to and from those subsidiaries.

Section 1.  (a)  The following actions shall be prohibited beginning 45 days after the date of this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law: any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd. (a.k.a. Zìjié Tiàodòng), Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under section 1(c) of this order.

(c)  45 days after the date of this order, the Secretary shall identify the transactions subject to subsection (a) of this section.

In addition, it applies not just to American citizens worldwide but to any person or organisation within the United States.

The TikTok ban follows the WeChat ban, and similarly, does not start until 45 days later, on 20 September 2020. That suggests it’s being used as a leverage, rather than an urgent matter of national security.

Possibly to pressure ByteDance into accepting the Microsoft offer to buy them out. It could also just a way for Trump to boost his flagging chances at winning re-election.

And “coincidentally”, he signed his executive order on the same day Facebook unveiled Instagram Reels


TikTok Responds : We Are Shocked

TikTok responded with a statement, saying that they are shocked by the Executive Order :

We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.


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