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TikTok Ban Postponed

A “General Prohibition Sign” Superimposed on the TikTok Logo. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, the popular video sharing app TikTok was expected to be banned in the United States, making it so U.S. citizens would no longer be able to download the app on their mobile devices. That ban has seemed to be postponed yet again after threats of the app being banned back in August were previously postponed, and a deal involving tech company Oracle and Walmart was rushed to be finalized. 

TikTok is primarily known for its lip-syncing, cooking, and dance videos, which have become popular and are similar to the former video sharing app, Vine.

President Trump’s push for a ban on the app comes from possible concerns of national security, as the app is owned by Chinese based company Bytedance, and the U.S. government fears that U.S. users’ data would be obtained by the Chinese government. 

TikTok collects data from users about what videos they watch and comment on, their location data, phone model, and how people type: similar data that social media apps like Facebook collect, according to BBC. 

What exactly does the TikTok ban mean, and will users who already have the app still be able to use it?

The TikTok ban that was initially supposed to occur on Sunday, Sept. 20, has been postponed to Sept. 27, as a deal with Oracle and Walmart is being pursued. 

A ban of the app would take the app off of the app stores of Apple and Google, but users who already have the app downloaded would still be able to use it and post videos as they normally would. Users who still have the app after Sept. 20, according to CNN, “wouldn’t be able to receive security patches or other updates, which would cause outages or glitches in the future.” 

According to NPR and CNN, the threatened ban of TikTok has been averted, as tech company Oracle and Walmart collaborated to put together TikTok Global.

TikTok Global will be headquartered in the United States, and will monitor U.S. users’ data. If the deal passes, Oracle and Walmart would hold 20 percent of TikTok Global, with ByteDance owning the other 80 percent. According to NPR, ByteDance is 40 percent owned by American investors, so the deal would make TikTok Global majority owned by Americans. 

In August, President Trump signed an order for ByteDance to completely leave U.S. TikTok operations by Nov. 12, according to NPR. 

Tech company Oracle and Walmart have both come out and said that four out of the five members of the TikTok Global board of directors would be American, one of which would be Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. 

TikTok Global would provide the United States with 25,000 new jobs and also a “$5 billion donation toward US education,” according to the President’s statement. 

ByteDance came out with a statement on Monday, Sept. 21, saying that the “so-called $5 billion to the U.S. Treasury” is an estimate of the corporate taxes TikTok Global would pay over several years if the deal is passed, according to The Verge.

There are over 100 million U.S. users on Tiktok, with as many as 800 million worldwide. With the threat of the ban looming, many people downloaded the app over the weekend. Downloads rose 12 percent to 247,000 on Friday, Sept. 18, according to CNN.

Users who have the app already will be able to continue using the app as normally up until Nov. 12 if a deal is not finalized.

About the Contributor
Genevieve Santilli, News Writer