China Would Rather Have TikTok Shut Down Over Trump’s Force Sale

This may be bad news for those of you who love TikTok, especially you @iamalonzoarnold

Last month Donald Trump issued an executive order that would ban the short-form video app TikTok unless the operations are sold to another company by September 20.

Trump targeted the app because it’s owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, and says that it posed a national security threat that would allow the Chinese government to use data gathered from the app to “track the locations” of federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.”

Chinese officials say they would rather see the app shut down in the US than have parent company ByteDance forced to sell to American operations, Reuters reported Friday.

According to CNet, close sourced with direct knowledge of the matter, says officials are concerned that the sale to US operations due to the pressure from the Trump administration could make China and ByteDance appear weak.  

Initially, it looked like the deadline was set for September 20, but it’s now unclear. After TikTok’s US operations were reviewed by a government security body, Trump issued a second executive order that extended the deadline to November 12. But during a press conference, he mentioned a September 15 deadline, which he said on Thursday would not be extended.

TikTok and ByteDance challenged the executive order and have sued both Trump and the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. In the suit, the app alleges that Trump’s order violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment because the administration doesn’t give the company a chance to be heard. It also accuses Trump of acting beyond his legal authority because his administration has not proved with evidence that TikTok poses a national security threat.

In their defense, TikTok says it stores US user data in the US with a backup system in Singapore. The company also said even if they would not hand over the data to the Chinese government even if they were asked to do so.

Microsoft and Walmart and other companies have been in talks with ByteDance to buy the apps US operations, but Microsoft’s offer was rejected. The delay appears to stem from a restriction on exports of artificial intelligence of technology in Ching. However, ByteDance can still move forward with a  deal by selling TikTok’s US operations without including its key algorithms.

“China opposes the unjustified suppression and targeting of these non-US companies by abusing their state power under the weakest pretext of national security,” the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijan told reporters on Friday.

It seems like Trump should be worried about more things than an app we all enjoy. But in the meantime, get all your TikToks in.

Tik Tok to be Banned
Twenty20

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