Time may be running out on TikTok in the United States.
President Trump tonight issued an executive order that bans US companies from doing business with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, in 45 days.
A similar order covers WeChat and its parent company Tencent, reported Axios.
In America, a fifth of the 100 most downloaded and free iOS apps are made by the Chinese. Among these Chinese-made games is PUBG Mobile, which is currently in the top 10 grossing iOs apps, according to SCMP.
Over the past couple of months, TikTok has received a lot of buzz by users of all ages, including celebrities, influencers, and politicians, for its entertaining content.
However, the Trump Administration sees this social media and other apps as a major threat to America’s sensitive information.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release, “The Clean Network program is the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
The five-pronged Clean Network plan will ensure People’s Republic of China (PRC) carriers are not connected with U.S. telecommunications networks, remove untrusted applications from U.S. mobile app stores, prevent untrusted PRC smartphone manufacturers from partnering with U.S. manufacturers, and prevent U.S. information from being stored in cloud-based systems that are in China.
Pompeo said, “PRC apps threaten our privacy, proliferate viruses, and spread propaganda and disinformation.” Referring to American manufacturers, he also said, “These companies should remove their apps from Huawei’s app store to ensure they are not partnering with a human rights abuser.”
Recently, officials announced the possibility of Microsoft buying out TikTok to keep the app available to Americans, but out of the hands of the PRC. Microsoft has not officially taken over the app, but said they would “move quickly” to announce a decision by Sept. 15, according to New York Times.
Tonight’s order gives Microsoft and other American companies a brief windows for completing these deals with the Chinese companies.
TikTok currently has 100 million users in America, reported New York Times.
The tech divide between China and America doesn’t only impact American app users. Chinese users will also have to move away from U.S. games, apps, and manufacturers. A part of the Clean Network program is revoking Chinese phone makers’ ability to download American applications.
According to Tech Crunch, some Chinese on social media are comparing the Clean Network initiative to China’s cyberspace crackdowns that exist to purge pornography, violence, gambling, and more.
A researcher in international tech policy, Maria Ferrell, told the Verge, “The specifics don’t add up terribly well. They don’t speak to a good understanding of how networks function, or a very clear idea of how this is expected of implemented.”
The Trump Administration has not yet announced how the five-pronged plan will be enforced, but Pompeo said the momentum for the program is growing with many of the world’s major telecommunications companies are now “clean.”
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