Illustration of the Chinese Tiktok application. - AFP
An immediate decision. Donald Trump announced Friday that he was going to ban the United States from the social network TikTok, suspected by Washington of being able to be used by Chinese intelligence. "Regarding TikTok, we are banning it in the United States," he told reporters aboard the presidential plane Air Force One. TikTok was under investigation by CFIUS, the U.S. agency responsible for ensuring that foreign investments do not pose a risk to national security.
US officials have expressed fears in recent weeks that the hugely popular video platform could be used by Beijing for negative purposes for the United States. Steven Mnuchin, the US Secretary of the Treasury, said Wednesday that he would make a "recommendation" on TikTok to the White House this week.
In the name of the protection of national security
TikTok has often had to defend itself from its ties to China, where ByteDance has a similar app, under a different name. She has always denied sharing data with the Chinese authorities and assured that she did not intend to accept requests in this regard. On Friday, before Donald Trump's announcement, American media believed that the president was going to force the ByteDance group to sell TikTok.
According to the Wall Street Journal and the Bloomberg agency, the president was about to sign an official order to force the Chinese parent company to separate from the very popular American application, in the name of the protection of national security. The social network declined to comment on reports of a forced sale, claiming simply to be "confident in the long-term success of TikTok."
More transparency and more controls to reassure users
“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok to be entertained and connected, including our community of creators and artists who make a living from the platform,” the platform added. But instead of this sale Donald Trump announced the ban on TikTok in the United States and declared that he would act on Saturday. A few days ago, TikTok made a commitment to have a high level of transparency and in particular to allow checks on its algorithms, to reassure users and regulators.
“We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and we have no agenda. Our only objective is to remain a lively and dynamic platform appreciated by all, declared Wednesday in a blog note the boss of TikTok, Kevin Mayer. “The entire industry is under scrutiny, and with good reason. Due to the company's Chinese origins, we are examined even more closely. We accept it and take up the challenge, ”he explained.
TikTok, disputed elsewhere than in the United States
James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, believes that the security risk incurred using TikTok is "close to zero." On the other hand, "it looks like ByteDance could be put under pressure by Beijing," he said. The social network is also disputed elsewhere than in the United States.
It has been banned since June 30 in India, where it was placed at the top of the list of 59 Chinese applications blocked by New Delhi on its territory to "ensure the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace". Pakistan, a very conservative Muslim country, recently launched "a final warning" to the video-sharing application TikTok to remove from its platform content deemed "immoral, obscene and vulgar".
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