(RightWing.org) – It’s barely been two years since social media platform TikTok launched outside Communist China. But in that time, it’s grown explosively to become the media app of choice for teens and young adults. Unfortunately, it’s also grown to become a massive data-collecting tool operated by an unfriendly totalitarian regime, so President Trump has been forced to take action to reduce the threat.
Administration Issues Ultimatum to Chinese Tech Firm
TikTok was custom-made for the age of affordable smartphones. The app makes it easy to create and distribute fun video clips, and young people have adopted it in huge numbers. However, it also collects and shares personal data on an industrial scale, and something urgently needed to be done.
- Last Friday, August 14, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at freeing TikTok from the control of the Chinese Communist Party. The app was created by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, which – like all Chinese businesses – is legally required to comply with the Communist dictatorship’s censorship laws and turn over any data the regime asks for.
- While all social media platforms and many other apps collect user data, TikTok does it on an unprecedented scale. It even copies the contents of your device with each keystroke and could easily be sending this data – which can include sensitive personal details like passwords or credit card details – back to ByteDance.
- The company has already been fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for illegally collecting data from minors. TikTok Inc, the US subsidiary, was hit with a $5.7-million penalty in February 2019 for violating online child protection laws.
- Now, President Trump has ordered ByteDance to sell off its US TikTok operation within 90 days or face having the app completely banned. The president wants the popular app to keep running but believes it should be bought and controlled by Microsoft or another “very American” company.
- The executive order also says ByteDance has to destroy all the data it holds on US users inside the same 90-day window, and certify in writing that it’s done so. It’s impossible to prove whether they do that or not, but if any of that data subsequently turns up in Chinese hands, the US will know who to blame.
Industry sources say ByteDance plans to sue the administration in an attempt to get the executive order overturned, but in the end, it’s probably going to be easier for them to just take the money. Microsoft and Twitter have already expressed interest in buying the app, so it looks like President Trump has found a solution that‘ll let US teens keep making embarrassing videos, but stop the Beijing communists from using their data against them.
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