Is TikTok getting banned? Latest on Trump's efforts to ban social network

Kate Fowler August 24, 2020
Is TikTok getting banned? Latest on Trump's efforts to ban social network
Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

With ongoing talk of billion dollar sales and US lawsuits, whether or not TikTok will get banned is still pretty unclear, and at times confusing. So, we’ve put it into simpler terms to make it easier to understand all the updates since we last reported on the saga.

Trump’s executive orders

On August 14, Trump reportedly issued an executive order to TikTok, which stated that they had 90 days to sell their US operations to an American company.

Though, Trump originally placed a 45-day deadline on the app on August 6, he extended it to a 90-day period.

Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The updated order also allegedly requires that ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, destroys all US collected data, and also destroys any US data collected by app Musical.ly, which was bought by ByteDance back in 2017.

The fear is that tech giant ByteDance collects data from US users and passes it onto the Chinese government, which could be a threat to US national security. Though, TikTok and ByteDance have denied any relationship between their data and the Chinese government, the US aren’t so sure.

For parallel reasons, Trump also banned Chinese social media app WeChat in the US with an executive order on the same date.

TikTok’s lawsuit

However, in the latest chess move between the US and TikTok, the app yesterday announced that they will be taking legal action against the Trump administration. The BBC reported that in a statement, a company spokesperson said, “To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system.”

So what does this mean for US users of the app? Will they wake up on November 12 with the app deleted from their devices? Likely not, with a few large tech companies apparently looking to buy the US operations of the app.

Who will buy TikTok?

Photo Illustration by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Microsoft

The main contender in the race to win TikTok, and thus the influence (and money) of the whole Gen Z generation, is Microsoft. It has been reported that Microsoft are in talks to buy TikTok at a price between $10-30 billion (so specific, we know). Microsoft have allegedly said that they will transfer all of TikTok’s data from China to the US within the first year. Microsoft confirmed all of these reports in a blog post too.

Oracle

On 18 August, the Financial Times reported that tech giant Oracle, who also have a partnership with the familiar Zoom, are also in talks to purchase TikTok. Oracle are allegedly working with US investors who already have stakes in ByteDance. Oracle reportedly seem to be the only credible offer to rival that of Microsoft.

Twitter

Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 8 that Twitter have had talks with TikTok around a possible deal. However, questions remain around whether or not the social media giant will be able to afford the deal, considering its market capitalisation (total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock) is allegedly only around $29 billion (the use of ‘only’ might seem ridiculous but when compared to the $1.6 trillion of Microsoft, it’s just).

What happens if no company buys TikTok? Well, the two main rivals for TikTok’s replacement are Instagram’s Reels and Triller. Triller has been publicly endorsed by Trump who has an official account on the app.

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Kate is a fashion journalism graduate from London College of Fashion with an untouchable knowledge of pop culture. Her eye for the strange corners of the internet have resulted to huge-hitting articles while she has also written features for Vice. The solar system might make your world go round, but writing about the internet, music and celebrities has Kate in orbit.