President Trump Sows Confusion On TikTok Sale Deadline
Sep 14 2020
Trump on Thursday said that he would not extend the September 15 deadline for the deal.
TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide, is available in over 150 countries, and has been downloaded over 175 million times in the USA, according to App Ape data. The problem is aggravated by statements by Donald Trump, who, in communication with the press, began to often mention September 15 as the date by which the negotiations should end.
The Independent has reached out to TikTok for comment.
Reuters reports that Beijing would rather TikTok is shut down in the U.S. than be forced to sell. "There is no authority in the USA to ban TikTok content, ban people from watching it, or ban people for working with TikTok, that's just the President exaggerating his authority to put pressure on the deal", says James Lewis, director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington think tank.
The first order, banning United States companies from transacting with the Chinese company or its subsidiaries, gave a September 20 deadline. Some analysts had predicted that the deadline would be extended because of the sale's complexity.
A separate order Trump issued August 14 gave ByteDance 90 days to divest the app's United States operations, suggesting that it had until November 12 to find an American buyer.
Notably, there have also been some reports that ByteDance could still work out a deal, and circumvent the regulatory hurdles, by not transferring the technology added to the export list of China.
Separating TikTok and ByteDance is trickier than it seems on the surface.
TikTok has defended itself vehemently, saying that U.S. user data is stored within the country. As a effect of this decision, more than 100 moderators will be relocated to other jobs within the parent company, Bytedance, or will be fired outright. Another factor is an update China made two weeks ago to export control laws that cover artificial intelligence technologies.
TikTok's security is also under a magnifying glass in several other countries.
USA officials criticized the app for security and privacy, and stated that user data may have been shared with Beijing.
India was the first country to ban TikTok and more than 100 other Chinese mobile applications because of security reasons.