The Future of TikTok

The Future of TikTok

c/o SOPA Images

Abbie Heller, Features Editor

Two months ago, President Trump announced that the U.S. government would be banning TikTok, a popular social media app amongst teens. The Trump administration claimed that the app was a threat to national security due to its ties to China and that the information collected from American users could be given to the Chinese Government. An Executive order poste on August 6th from whitehouse.gov stated, “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to American’s personal and proprietary information – potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” TikTok, on the other hand, has been resolute in denying these claims. 

However, the plans have changed since then and much of the app’s future is still up in the air. The parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, has been given multiple deadlines and extensions in a back-and-forth struggle against the U.S. government.

Originally, ByteDance was ordered to remove the app from U.S. app stores on September 20th, but this was blocked by a D.C. judge who stated that the ban would likely go beyond the bounds of the law. Soon after, TikTok filed a lawsuit in D.C. to fight the ban themselves. Currently, ByteDance is trying to make a deal with Oracle and Walmart, two American companies that may be able to save TikTok from being banned. This deal would allow the app to stay by satisfying the concerns of national security.

The deal from Oracle and Walmart would include both companies owning a part of TikTok Global, which would be a new, U.S.-based entity. Oracle would be the technology partner to secure Tiktok’s U.S. data, which would satisfy concerns of national security and solve the main problem that the government had with the app in the first place.

The most recent deadline for the deal was on November 12th. The administration claimed that if ByteDance had not sold part of its U.S. operations to an American company by then, the app would be banned that day. However, three creators on the app managed to receive a block on the ban from a judge in Pennsylvania, claiming through their lawsuit that Tiktok offered professional opportunities. The company also stated that they asked for a 30-day extension, which was eventually granted, then having until November 27th to reach a deal on their own. Otherwise, it will be possible for the U.S. government to force the sale by suing in court. As of December 3rd, there have been no public updates on the status of the deal.