Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State says that there are ongoing discussions in the government’s office of the USA. They are now considering banning TikTok, a Chinese social media app. The major reason behind such a discussion is that TikTok is assumed to be a security threat. The video app is a project of the Chinese company named ByteDance. According to the statistics, there are around 65-80 million people in the USA who use TikTok actively. They use the app to make quick videos of 15 seconds. To these videos, they can add music, filters, and more.
Looking at the figures of 2019, the TikTok app was a huge success. It garnered more than a billion users across the world. Moreover, the number of downloads crossed 175 million. However, from the last couple of months, the US government has proposed for a thorough investigation. They want to find out the exact nature of the relationship between the Chinese government and ByteDance, the owner of TikTok. The American government’s goal is to find out if the relationship between the two can become a threat of counterintelligence nature to the country.
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Reason for the ban of TikTok in the USA
Amidst the discussions, in a recent interview, the Secretary of State of USA revealed that President Trump and his administration is considering to ban TikTok along with a few other Chinese social media apps. Responding to the news, a spokesperson stated his opinion on behalf of TikTok. He says that the CEO of TikTok is an American. Moreover, there is a huge team that works relentlessly towards achieving the highest targets of public and product policy, security, and safety.
He says that the priority of the organization is nothing but the users. They are constantly finding ways to improve their service so that people can enjoy a secure and safe app experience. On the other hand, Pompeo has accused TikTok of being a security threat by transferring user data to the Chinese government. Moreover, in the interview, Pompeo was asked whether he will recommend anybody to download the TikTok App. To this, the State Secretary said that anyone who wishes to hand over their private information to the Communist Party of China may download to use TikTok.
Again, as a reply to Pompeo’s statement, the spokesperson on behalf of TikTok denied all such claims. He said that it is untrue that they transfer anyone’s private information to the Chinese government, nor will they ever do so. ByteDance, a Chinese tech organization is not just the owner of TikTok, but also one of the most important start-ups of the country. They have launched real estate as well as travel search websites. All of these were working perfectly till the time the pandemic hits the world and gave rise to so much controversy.
Information from the official website of TikTok
In a post on its official website, TikTok officials declared their distancing from their parent company. However, they are still working through the subsidiaries of ByteDance Ltd. The same gets the support of several global organizational investors. In an announcement by Tiktok on July 6, we got to know about the removal of the video app from Hong Kong. It is according to the new law of national security in China.
As per this law, Beijing is gearing up to get stricter territory control which was earlier autonomous. It also requires every tech company in that region to submit user data, as and when required. Pompeo on the other hand has already virtually cast away all Chinese companies. He declares all of them as security threats under the new security law. However, there is no special evidence that the Chinese government has demanded any kind of user data from TikTok too.
Even the USA State Government has denied revealing any more details on whether there is any intelligence test going on against TikTok. However, an official reveals that it is a rule for every Chinese tech organization to submit user data to the national government. Therefore, every American should be aware of the fact that images, location, biometrics, etc. may reach the Chinese government. Amidst all the discussion, several American military branches and agencies have already put a red mark on TikTok usage by their personnel. The same is the case with the US Army and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration).
The massive popularity of the app
From the present scenario, we can easily derive the massive popularity of TikTok in the USA. Starting from January to April, a user spends an average of 52 minutes on TikTok every day. Moreover, the number of new users is rising too. The survey was a project by an American digital advertising organization by the name Wallaroo Media. So, they have come with massive figures. Last week, India banned the TikTok app in light of the growing tension with China. The fight is over a piece of land in the Himalayan region. India also banned another 58 Chinese apps as a part of their protest.