Trump views TikTok as national security risk but efforts to ban app stall

TikTok remains popular among teens despite President Trumps efforts to ban the app.

Courtesy of Time online magazine

TikTok remains popular among teens despite President Trump’s efforts to ban the app.

President Trump is currently in a war with popular app Tiktok, now suing the U.S. government. TikTok has been known to be a safe social media platform for teens all around the globe, or at least it seemed so until the U.S. government started treating it as a threat. The app is so prevalent that the average teenager clicks on it forty-three times a day for a total of at least three hours each day. TikTok, used mostly by teenagers, has gained widespread popularity. The app permits users to post videos of dances or funny sounds.

Perhaps the extreme popularity, particularly in the U.S., caught the attention of the government. TikTok is the largest growing app on the market, with 800 million active users. The app is the ninth largest social media platform in the world, having been downloaded over two billion times. America has the third-largest amount of TikTok downloads in the world with 165 million. The app is most popular in India with 611 million downloads.

Taking advantage of this tremendous popularity, certain users were able to reach a large audience in an effort to undermine President Trump. On June 21st, President Trump’s campaign was trolled by TikTok users in Tulsa according to CNN. Tiktokers made a video convincing people to reserve seats and then not show up to President Trump’s campaign rally. Seeing that this video got millions of views, people followed this as a trend. More than half the seats at Trump’s Tulsa rally were empty.

This wasn’t the only reason the government wanted TikTok taken down. Based on the fact that TikTok is a Chinese owned company, President Trump acted on rumors that the Chinese government was stealing users’ personal information. He issued an Executive Order on August 6, 2020, declaring that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users.” The Order declared that this invasion of privacy which includes gathering information on each user’s network and prior internet searches, is a threat to American national security, foreign policy and the economy. The Order specifically prohibits transactions between U.S. citizens and TikTok’s parent company. It also requires that TikTok’s American assets be sold to an American company within 45 days of the date of the Order.

In response to the Executive Order, TikTok announced that it would sue the US government. The app company argues that President Trump has no legal authority to ban the app from American users. In addition, TikTok claims that it has taken large measures to make the app more secure.

In addition to signing the Executive Order, Trump has tried to buy TikTok, but the creators have made it clear that it is not for sale. As a result, Trump is pushing for the U.S. to earn a percentage of any sale of TikTok that may take place in exchange for letting the app remain accessible to U.S. users. Trump’s lawyers have informed him that he is not legally permitted to take a percentage of the sale of TikTok. On September 27th, the Trump administration held another meeting about TikTok’s future in the U.S. The administration will reconvene on this topic in November and discuss the future of this app. For now, Trump doesn’t have the power to take this app, and it looks like he won’t be getting it.