AGI – American President Donald Trump has announced that he will ban the Chinese social network TikTok in the US, suspected by Washington of being used by the Beijing secret services. “As for TikTok, we will ban it in the United States,” Trump told reporters on board Air Force One.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese group ByteDance. The application has nearly one billion users worldwide and is very popular with young people.
TikTok is under investigation by Cfius, the US agency charged with ensuring that foreign investment does not pose a risk for national security. In recent weeks, US experts have expressed concern that the video platform may be used by Beijing to harm the United States.
Steven Mnuchin, United States Treasury Secretary, said Wednesday that he will make a “recommendation” on TikTok this week in the White House. Social often had to defend itself because of its ties to China, where ByteDance has a similar application under another name. The network has always denied sharing data with Chinese authorities and ensured that he has no intention of accepting such requests.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, U.S. media had written that the president would force the ByteDance group to sell TikTok. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Bloomberg agency, the president was on the verge of signing an official order to force the Chinese parent company to abandon the popular American application in the name of protecting national security.
But then, on Air Force One, Trump announced to reporters that TikTok would be banned in the United States and said he would intervene today. A few days ago, TikTok was committed to ensuring a high level of transparency and in particular to allow the control of its algorithms, to reassure users and regulators.
“We are not politicians, we do not accept political publicity and we do not have an agenda,” said TikTok chief Kevin Mayer on Wednesday. “The whole sector is under scrutiny, and rightly so. Because of the company’s Chinese origins, we are undergoing an even closer scrutiny. We accept it and accept the challenge,” he said. James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that the security risk from using TikTok is “close to zero.” On the other hand, “it appears that ByteDance could be under pressure from Beijing,” said Lewis.
The social network is also disputed outside the United States. Since June 30 it has been banned in India, where it has been placed at the top of the list of 59 Chinese applications blocked by New Delhi on its territory to “guarantee the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”. Pakistan, a very conservative Muslim country, recently issued a “last warning” to the TikTok video sharing application to remove content deemed “immoral, obscene and vulgar” from its platform.