TikTok, the video sharing app that bowed in 2016, filled the hole left by Vine, and it’s only gotten more popular during the pandemic, with hordes of bored quarantiners creating inventive and often amusing content that’s helped distract us from what’s going on. But that may come to an end, at least in America. A few weeks ago it was reported that the U.S. government was considering banning it. And now the president is ramping that up.
As per CNBC, Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he was seeking to ban the Chinese-owned app, which had 2 billion downloads in April alone. On the same day it was reported that Microsoft was in talks to buy the app from its owner, ByteDance. Trump said he didn’t support that deal, in part because of claims the service has been sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told journalists. He didn’t specify exactly how he’d do that, saying, “Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that.”
It may happen quickly, too. According to Axios, the a source close to the president says the ban is “on his desk.” That said, it’s not clear if by “ban” he means banning the app, as India has already done, or banning the Microsoft deal.
On Saturday, TikTok representatives released a statement, attacking the president’s threat. “These are the facts: 100 million Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, especially during the pandemic. We’ve hired nearly 1,000 people to our US team this year alone, and are proud to be hiring another 10,000 employees into great paying jobs across the US,” it read. It continued:
“Our $1 billion creator fund supports US creators who are building livelihoods from our platform. TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
Whatever happens, time to make your TikTok masterpiece before it’s (possibly) too late.