TikTok blocking postponed: US and China to sign an agreement
US President Donald Trump has approved the terms of a deal that will allow the popular Chinese video app TikTok to operate in the US. Writes about it with the BBC.
“The security will be one hundred percent. I have blessed the contract. I approved of it in principle, ”he said on Saturday, September 19, leaving the White House to head to a campaign rally in North Carolina.
The app “is and will remain” in the US, TikTok chief Vanessa Pappas said in a video posted on Saturday.
On August 7, Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting TikTok in the United States, citing national security concerns.
Although the Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the application, says it is independent from the Chinese authorities, experts feared that the personal data of about 100 million American TikTok users were available to the PRC government.
The ban was supposed to take effect in 45 days, that is, at midnight from Sunday to Monday (20 to 21 September). It has not yet been officially canceled, but the US Department of Commerce has postponed its execution for a week "due to recent favorable events."
Details of the deal
ByteDance will create a new company called TikTok Global with US corporations Oracle and Walmart, which will receive 12,5% and 7,5%, respectively.
TikTok Global will be headquartered in the US, presumably in Texas. The head of the company and most of the board members, including the security director, will be American. User data must be stored on Oracle servers.
The solution is of a compromise nature. Donald Trump previously pushed for the sale of TikTok's US business to American investors. In fact, ByteDance will retain a significant stake in it.
In a joint statement, Oracle and Walmart said the creation of TikTok Global will bring the US 25 jobs and $ 5 billion in tax revenues a year.
The TikTok settlement does not affect the WeChat messaging and payments app owned by the Chinese holding company Tencent and also mentioned in Trump's August 7th order. However, a few hours before the ban went into effect, a California court ruled against the WeChat ban on a claim from a user group.
The court ruled that blocking WeChat would violate freedom of expression in the absence of sufficient evidence of a threat to national security.
The number of WeChat users in the United States is nearly 20 million.
Tensions around Chinese mobile apps have erupted amid growing controversies between Washington and Beijing over trade, Hong Kong and the fight against coronavirus.
James Clayton, BBC Science and Technology Correspondent for North America, points out that Donald Trump has backed down from his initial demands mainly for economic reasons and recalls that the deal still needs to be approved by the Chinese authorities. There is no guarantee of this.
What is TikTok
The app, especially popular with young people, allows users to download videos that they have created, ranging from 15 seconds to a minute, using unusual editing tools. Most often, authors imitate famous singers and comedians.
The application collects a huge amount of data about users - what videos they watch and comment on, their location, mobile phone models and even how people type. But all this does not go beyond what other social networks do, for example, Facebook.
According to reports, TikTok is used by up to 800 million people worldwide every month, primarily in India and the United States.
At the end of June this year, India blocked TikTok and another 58 Chinese mobile apps. The formal reason was the threat to the morality of minors, but the decision came two weeks after the incident on the border between the two countries, which killed 20 Indian soldiers.
Australia, which has already banned the products of Chinese telecom giant Huawei and equipment manufacturer ZTE, is also considering blocking TikTok.
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