Trump threatens to ban TikTok, US President alleges threats to national security after officials accuse social network of being a tool for spying in China and warn of risks to users. Company denies links with Beijing.
US President Donald Trump threatens to ban TikTok in his country, citing national security reasons.
Security officials and US lawmakers have previously expressed concerns that TikTok, whose popularity is increasing rapidly in the U.S., may be a tool for Chinese intelligence services.
Trump announced the measure during a conversation with reporters on the Air Force One presidential plane. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we are going to ban it from the United States,” he said. “I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order,” he stressed, suggesting that the decision should be formalized on Saturday.
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The measure announced by Trump came after an analysis by the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS), which investigates possible threats to national security, and which cast doubt on the safe use of the social network.
American officials have expressed doubts about the security of user data and possible links to the Chinese Communist Party. In early July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Beijing of using TikTok as a tool for spying and distributing propaganda. The company ByteDance, which developed the platform, denies any connection with the government in Beijing.
TikTok, used by users to share short videos, is very popular with teenagers. It is estimated that the application has already conquered around one billion people worldwide.
The company declined to comment on Trump’s speech, saying only that he trusts TikTok’s “long-term success”. “Hundreds of thousands of people access TikTok for entertainment and to connect, in addition to our community of creators and artists who make their living from the platform,” the social network said in a statement.
TikTok ensured that it has a high level of transparency, including allowing access to its algorithms as a way to reassure users and regulatory agencies. “We are not politicians, we do not accept political propaganda and we do not have an agenda,” said Kevin Mayer, CEO of the social network, in a post last week. “TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.”
Sabotage at Trump’s campaign event
According to reports in the American press, users of the Chinese app and fans of Korean pop bands (K-Pop) would have been able to sabotage the first event of the election campaign for Trump’s re-election after the covid-19 pandemic spread across the U.S.
They claim to have booked hundreds of thousands of tickets to the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the election team invited Trump supporters to register by phone to get a free ticket.
Videos posted on the social network explained how to proceed to book tickets. The articulation took place through the “Alt TikTok”, an alternative platform of the service. In order for the plan not to come up ahead of time, several users deleted their posts after a few days, preventing the initiative from appearing on other platforms as well.
The Trump team was attended by about 100,000 supporters. The president himself had announced on Twitter that “almost 1 million people” had requested tickets to the free event. However, images of the emptied arena have gained wide prominence in the world press and have created a huge embarrassment for Trump.