When is tiktok getting banned? 2020

According to Bloomberg and the New York Times, there’s valid concern the app is collecting information from children under the age of 13 without parental permission—which would be in violation of U.S. privacy laws. On top of that, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently claimed officials were considering banning the app to protect Americans’ private data.

Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance to buy 30 percent of the company, which would only include its U.S. operations, but Trump is pushing for a complete purchase that would see Microsoft buy up 100 percent of TikTok with negotiations ongoing.

The battle over the future of TikTok took a new turn as Oracle Corp. won the bidding for the U.S. operations of the video-sharing app, people familiar with the matter said, beating out Microsoft Corp. in a high-profile deal to salvage a social-media sensation that has been caught in the middle of a geopolitical standoff.

TikTok execs are pretty pissed about this, and they even filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order, so I guess we should add “TikTok vs. Trump takedown” to the list of weird stuff going down in 2020.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is looking at banning the app because TikTok puts American users’ “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party." Some senators have been taking it upon themselves to encourage staff to delete the app, like Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who also introduced legislation against. Some companies, including Wells Fargo, have told their staffers to delete TikTok from their work phones in light of surveillance or espionage concerns.

Yeah, that deal that was supposed to happen to save TikTok from getting the boot? Hasn't happened. Since there hasn't been a buyer yet, TikTok will no longer be available to download in American app stores as of this coming Sunday. The purchasing deadline has since been extended to November 12, but that comes with a catch: App updates will not be available to users anymore.

While the proposed U.S. ban of the social media app TikTok may seem novel, it’s actually just the most recent high-profile incident in a string of cases of countries banning products or services over alleged cybersecurity concerns. The authors have studied more than 75 such events involving more than 31 countries going back almost 20 years. They suggest that the current trend should worry any business with an international scope, and suggest that business executives need to not only follow the best practices to improve the cybersecurity of their digital product and services, they must also prepare for political risks. Managers, as well as consumers, may encounter extreme disruptions to international trade.

But back to why any of this matters to people who don’t otherwise care about viral dances or technology companies. The best and most clear-headed take on all of this, in my opinion, comes from Sarah Jeong, also writing for The Verge. She dubs the central strategy in play here “information-nationalism,” or the idea that to point out a country’s failures and human rights abuses is to make it weak (e.g. to accurately describe slavery’s history in the US is to slander America).

There’s no denying that everyone’s favorite lockdown app is extremely politicized and caught up in what’s essentially a technology war between China and the United States. As Forbes writer Zak Doffman puts it, “Yes, there are security concerns behind the scenes, but commercial, economic, and political concerns trump those.” Emphasis on “trump,” ahem.

In recent years, governments have tried to increase their ability to access the data contained on these devices and services. For example, WhatsApp advertises that it “secures your conversations with end-to-end encryption, which means your messages and status updates stay between you and the people you choose.” But, several times, most recently in October 2019, the U.S., UK and Australia have applied pressure on Facebook to create backdoors that would allow access to encrypted message content. So far, Facebook and WhatsApp have refused. If such backdoors are allowed and become commonplace, then every Internet-connected device will essentially be a spy device and likely be banned by every other country.

So, is TikTok collecting data? Not according to the company, whose spokesperson said, “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government nor would we do so if asked.”

Hello from The Goods’ twice-weekly newsletter! On Tuesdays, internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings uses this space to update you all on what’s been going on in the world of TikTok. Is there something you want to see more of? Less of? Different of? Email rebecca.jennings@vox.com, and subscribe to The Goods’ newsletter here.

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On August 6, President Trump issued executive orders that would ban two apps, TikTok and WeChat, from operating in the US if they were not sold by their respective Chinese parent companies by September 15. (In response, TikTok is now suing the Trump administration.) National security concerns over how the Chinese government could force TikTok to hand over American user data or censor content sensitive to the Communist Party of China have been brewing for more than a year.

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