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Is TikTok banned in the United States?

Video sharing app TikTok is a phenomenon. As of early 2017, the social network has nearly 90 million active users in the U.S., and the app has been downloaded an estimated two billion times.

TikTok Walmart Microsoft Deal

This success has come at a cost. The platform is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Since 2016, the U.S. government has been embroiled in a trade dispute with China, and TikTok, along with Chinese company Huawei, has been in the midst of this political storm.

In mid-2020, President Trump announced that he would ban TikTok in the United States with an executive order. So how are things right now?

Why is the US government banning TikTok?

China security requirements

The digital world has been dominated for decades by U.S. companies. Whether it’s hardware companies like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, or software-based companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, the U.S. has produced some of the world’s largest technology companies.

Over the past decade, China’s technology sector has grown rapidly, and a handful of companies such as Alibaba, Huawei and ByteDance have become global brands. In order to maintain fair competition, nation states comply with the rules of the International World Trade Organization (WTO), which govern state aid to the company.

The President’s 45th regime alleges that China has violated WTO rules and given its companies an unfair advantage. As a result, they seek to impose restrictions on TikTok and Huawei’s operations in the United States. It has also been claimed TikTok is a national security risk.

Is TikTok banned in the United States?

Photo credit: Kon Karampelas / Unsplash

In short, no. TikTok is not currently banned or restricted in the United States. Although the Huawei controversy goes back several years and has at least some credibility in terms of national security, allegations about TikTok only came to light after the president had launched a re-election campaign.

He also gave a hard date on September 20, 2020, for Enforcement Order 13942 to come into force and banned TosTok and WeChat, another popular Chinese messaging app. After signing the executive order, the media reported heavily on the situation, as TikTok has been an important and enjoyable form of entertainment for many during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After significant pressure, the president admitted that an American company could buy TikTok’s U.S. operations. There were rumors that Microsoft would buy TikTok. However, after the deal was unsuccessful, it was announced that software company Oracle and Walmart would form a U.S. unit to manage TikTok’s U.S. operations, even if they did not take ownership of the company.

TikTok sued the President on September 18, 2020. Less than two weeks later, Judge Nichols issued an order that effectively prevents the execution of Executive Order 13942 in the short term.

Could TikTok still be banned?

TikTok Dodges US Ban again
Photo credit: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

The U.S. presidential election was held just five weeks after the injunction. According to the results project, Joe Biden is the next president of the United States to replace Donald Trump.

Although not yet in office, there are no indications that a trade war with China is on the list of priorities for the new administration. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the TikTok dispute will continue.

For its part, TikTok doesn’t even know the status of the ban. The company has reportedly had no contact with President Trump’s office since September. The president stated in his executive order that the information collected by TikTok will be stored in China and possibly transferred to the Chinese government.

While many of his claims are politically justified, this particular point is noteworthy. As a Chinese company, ByteDance is likely to share information with the authorities. Nevertheless, this applies to all Chinese companies, not just TikTok. However, these data collection policies and close cooperation with government agencies are also standard among U.S. companies.

Are you ready to join TikTok?

TikTok has become a teen favorite worldwide and shows no slowdown. As the pandemic drags on and we move in and out of the locks, it seems likely that people will continue to TikTok for entertainment and connection.

The video sharing app may seem a little intimidating at first, but with a little guidance, you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy TikTok.

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