In 45 days, Trump’s new executive order will ban TikTok and WeChat transactions
Nothing makes sense anymore.
After people on TikTok trolled Donald Trump and his Tulsa rally, the president has been going full throttle on talks of banning the Chinese app TikTok from the United States. While other organizations, including the US military, have voiced their concerns with the app (some of which are justified), it wasn’t until after the rally that Trump started speaking about the app.
Now, as one American dies every 80 seconds from Covid-19, Trump has made it his goal to ban the ByteDance-owned social platform from the US. That, or force (???) the company to sell (???) US operations of TikTok to a US company, suggesting the US Treasury (???) should get a cut of the sale (???). Sounds pretty socialist to me.
Along with TikTok, the new executive order also looks to ban WeChat transactions from the US, as well. WeChat is a popular messaging platform owned by the Chinese company Tencent. The ban will only apply to WeChat transactions, and not any of the numerous companies or products Tencent has invested in. These include games like PUBG Mobile, and companies like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, and even Spotify.
The WeChat ban is especially tough, as it is a go-to app for Chinese Americans to not only communicate with loved ones but as a way to send money to friends and family in China, as well.
From the executive order (which goes into effect 45 days from its release),
TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.
ByteDance has maintained that no data from US users is sent to China, and that US data is stored on US servers with backups in Singapore, but it would be wrong to believe that the possibility isn’t still there. That said, it makes more sense for government agencies to block the app on government-issued devices (which they already have), and urge other companies and Americans in general to not use the app. Banning it outright is an entirely different subject and one that has dangerous precedents going forward.
Regardless of how you feel about the app or the president, this is a slippery slope for Americans’ freedoms. Because remember, one day your political affiliations will not be in charge, and then these same precedents can be used against what you believe are your rights.
TikTok has replied to the executive order, stating that it has tried to work with the US government for almost a year, noting that they are “shocked” by the decision.
This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth. And it sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets. We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.
In an effort of good faith, ByteDance has made transparent its content moderation algorithms (something other social media companies have not done), to show that it is not censoring content that might not fall in line with Chinese governance.
It looks like we’re in for a long road ahead. Until then, there’s always the newly launched Instagram Reels. I guess.
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