The social network is suspected by Washington of being able to be used by Chinese intelligence.
Tik Tok in Trump’s sights. The President of the United States 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, » Donald Trump told reporters aboard the presidential plane Air Force One.
TikTok belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance. The app has nearly a billion users worldwide and is very popular with a young audience. 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 very popular video platform could be used by Beijing for purposes harmful to 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.
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.
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. » “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,” TikTok added.
But Trump announced the ban on TikTok in the United States and said 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 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 whole 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, ” explained Mr. Mayer.
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 . » In contrast, « it looks like ByteDance could be put under pressure from Beijing, » said James Lewis. 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 ».
Source: LIBERATION With AFP