United States President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he will ban the TikTok social network in the United States, after the country’s authorities expressed concern that this platform was used by Chinese intelligence.
The Trump administration believes that the popular short video app – estimated to have 1 billion users – can be used as a spying tool by Beijing, something Bytedance, the app’s owner, denies.
Speaking to reporters on the Air Force One presidential plane, Trump said: “As for TikTok, we are going to ban it in the United States.”
The announcement takes place the same week that Trump received an update on the national security risks posed by the social network. The presentation was delivered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a panel chaired by the Treasury that deals with companies and acquisitions that affect this matter.
“TikTok is under CFIUS review and we will make a recommendation to the president this week,” said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “We have many alternatives,” he added. Trump, for his part, had said that his administration was “looking” at the social network and “thinking about making a decision.”
Concerns about this transcend political polarization in the United States. On Thursday, two senators – one Democrat and one Republican – asked the Justice Department (DOJ) to carry out an investigation similar to that of the CFIUS, in which they also included the video calling platform Zoom.
“We believe it is imperative that the DOJ investigate and determine whether Zoom and TikTok’s business relationships, data management practices and operational connections with China pose a risk to Americans,” wrote Richard Blumenthal (Democrat – Connecticut) and Josh Hawley (Republican – Missouri).
Lawmakers in turn said the companies are seeking to relativize the extent of their ties to China. “Based on numerous reports, we are extremely concerned that Zoom and TikTok have disclosed private information about Americans to the (People’s Republic of China) and have engaged in censorship on behalf of the Chinese government,” they said in the letter to the Attorney General. Deputy John Demers.
In parallel, another bill seeks to make it illegal for federal employees to use the app on government devices.
Fox Business journalist Charles Gasparino reported on Friday that, in the event that Bytedance effectively sells Tik Tok operations in the United States, Microsoft would be interested in acquiring them.
Tik Tok, meanwhile, has sought to distance itself from being owned by a Chinese company. With regard to the security of user data, he has assured that he stores them in the United States, and that they have a backup in Singapore.
In a blog post, Tik Tok CEO Kevin Mayer said: “We are not politicians, we do not accept political publicity and we do not have an agenda; our sole goal is to remain a vibrant and dynamic platform for all to enjoy. ”
The United States is not the first country to act on its concerns of this nature. In late June, and after recording a series of clashes with China on a poorly defined border, India banned the application – along with 59 other Chinese applications – claiming that they are involved in activities “detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the India, the defense of India, state security and public order ”.
Most of the apps were reported by Indian intelligence agencies out of concern that they were collecting user data and possibly also sending it outside the country’s borders.
— El Jacaguero to eljacaguero.com.do