Understanding the TikTok versus USA problem

For a few months now, we know that the Chinese network TikTok, apartment in ByteDance, a Chinese group is on the Select.

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok from the U.S. territory if it did not agree to sell its business to a U.S. company or affiliated with U.S. policy within 30 days.

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Since then, several American groups like Microsoft have already expressed their willingness to make this acquisition. But how did this case really start? What are the stakes of this opposition between the U.S. government and the Chinese social network? We will try to understand this matter more deeply.

1- TikTok, what is it?

TikTok is an app that was born out of the redesign of Musical.ly, by the Chinese group ByteDance, in November 2017. The acquisition amounted to nearly $800 million. For 3 years already this application has been launched on Android and iOS. She will become a celebrity among young people especially teenagers who have begun to take a liking to create and share short videos of a purely playful character. With the containment due to the measures adopted by the government to curb coronavirus, the popularity of TikTok will grow and literally become the most downloaded social network during this time with more than 2 billion downloads, which is a rather exceptional growth for an application. The app now has estimates of 1 billion monthly active users, 55% of whom are in China, and nearly 100 million in the United States. Note, however, that in China, the application is called Douyin and not TikTok.

2- What exactly does Donald Trump blame for the TikTok app?

The U.S. government has said that the application can serve China's intelligence interests. Indeed, according to Donald Trump and his administration, it presents a certain risk of letting this application work as such. Indeed, the risk of working with the Chinese government to transmit certain information generated by American users which in the first place is something that has been of concern for a very long time. Not to mention the Chinese Law, which requires any company based in China to cooperate with the administration and allow the administration to access its servers in case of need for information. In addition, a partnership reads the Chinese Ministry of the Interior to TikTok's parent company, ByteDance. All this is likely to reinforce the American's suspicion of the social network.

However, the Chinese company from the beginning has denied this possibility and this American position. ByteDance defines itself as an international company because it has offices in several countries in the United States, India and China. Its CEO is based in California, where its head office is now located. However, it is not only the United States that highlights the threat that the Chinese social network may pose. Recently there is also India which has taken steps to ban TikTok on its territory. It should be noted that the application had already been banned from India before being rehabilitated because the government believed that it was spreading mores that were unsuitable for young people.

In the United States, it is not just the security argument that prevails. Indeed, with TikTok's popularity with young people, elected officials are afraid that this may not be a source of influence with potential voters in the future, especially for a platform that is difficult to control than Facebook or Twitter. And to demonstrate the veracity of his remarks, the U.S. government relies on the decision of the independent administrative authority responsible for regulating telecoms, the Federal Communication Commision, which sanctioned the Chinese social network for illegally collecting personal data of its users under the age of 13. Without in accordance with U.S. law, in this context, explicit parental consent is required and obtained while U.S. law establishes this as a fundamental rule. In addition, an investigation initiated by the Wall Street Journal, found the social network illegally collected MAC addresses that could allow the identification of computer tools used by users for a period of 18 months. This information has so far not been confirmed by experts who have looked at the latest versions of the app to study it and determine the methods of data collection that they felt were similar or better than some apps such as Instagram or Snapchat.

In another sense, several people observing this news felt that the U.S. government's fight against Chinese enforcement is due to the tug-of-war that the U.S. government has been fighting against China in recent years.In this context, it would appear that the US government is trying to put pressure on Beijing in its own way. After attacking the Chinese giant Huawei, stripping it of some of its American partners and preventing it from obtaining certain materials necessary for the manufacture of its terminals, it is around the chinese flagship applications that its WeChat and TikTok, to be in the crosshairs and serve as a spearhead in the American strategy to make China bend. Especially as Tiktok is booming, is threatening the hegemony of the big players in the social entertainment world that are Facebook, Instagram Twitter, which are American companies.

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