Tag Archives: Tik Tok

US president, Trump targets Tik Tok again with new rule.

Advertisements

United States President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China’s rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

Trump’s order contends there is “credible evidence” leading him to believe that ByteDance’s take-over of Musical.ly “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

“As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” ByteDance said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”

Advertisements

The order set to take effect in 90 days retroactively prohibits the acquisition and bars ByteDance from having any interest in Musical.ly.

Trump ordered that any sale of interest in Musical.ly in the US had to be signed off on by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which is to be given access to ByteDance books.

It also ordered that any saved user data be destroyed.

Trump last week made good on threats against WeChat and TikTok — two Chinese-owned apps with major audiences that US officials say pose a national security threat.

Advertisements

Through an earlier executive order, he gave Americans 45 days to stop doing business with the platforms, effectively setting a deadline for a potential, under-pressure sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

Trump has also called for the US government to be cut in on the deal, a stance slammed by critics who said it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Last week’s move also threw into doubt the US operations of WeChat’s parent firm, Tencent, a powerful player in the video game industry and one of the world’s richest companies.

China condemned the move as “arbitrary political manipulation”.

Advertisements

Trump has claimed TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.

TikTok — used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones — has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

WeChat is a messaging, social media, and electronic payment platform and is reported to have more than a billion users, with many preferring it to email.

The latest US actions follow a protracted battle over Huawei, the Chinese network and smartphone giant accused by the Trump administration of being a tool for espionage.


#Newsworthy…

Microsoft’s dangerous castle in bid to acquire Tik Tok: Firewall, Gates, Windows

Advertisements

Microsoft, which is in talks to buy part of Chinese video app TikTok, is one of the few US tech titans that have managed to succeed in China.

The software giant has kept its business alive in the country by complying with strict local laws, despite the communist nation’s wide-reaching censorship.

Here are some key points about the technology and gaming group’s operations in the world’s second-biggest economy.

A pioneer
Microsoft arrived in China in 1992 and opened its largest research and development centre outside the United States. It now employs around 6,200 people in China.

The ubiquitous Windows operating system is used in the vast majority of computers in China — despite Beijing promising in recent years to develop its own operating system. The company’s success has a downside, however, as its software is widely pirated.

The important Chinese market, which is very restrictive for foreign firms, represents a drop in the ocean of Microsoft’s business, accounting for barely 1.8 percent of its turnover, president Brad Smith said at the beginning of the year.

Advertisements

Microsoft’s Bing is one of the few foreign search engines operating in China — although it is far behind its local competitors Baidu and Sogou, which dominate the market.

Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has long embodied a model of success in the eyes of many Chinese people and his books are bestsellers in the country.

President Xi Jinping visited the company’s headquarters on a state visit to the US in 2015, where he met with Gates and his wife.

Today, as the head of his humanitarian Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 64-year-old has the prestige of a head of state in Beijing.

Advertisements

In February Xi wrote Gates a letter thanking him for his support during the coronavirus epidemic.

Censorship and control
China censors all subjects considered politically sensitive in the name of stability, and internet giants are urged to block unwanted content online.

Refusing to comply with Beijing’s strict demands, American giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Wikipedia and several other foreign media, are blocked by China’s “great firewall”.

Microsoft, however, operates its professional LinkedIn network in the country by complying with the draconian censorship rules through a local joint venture.

Advertisements

Skype and Teams, its other two big platforms, are also available in China.

It’s not all smooth sailing though, with Bing temporarily taken offline last year, prompting speculation the search engine had been blocked by censors.

Smith told Fox Business News at the World Economic Forum in Davos that “there are times when there are difficult negotiations with the Chinese government.”

The Greatfire.org website, which tracks online censorship in China, accused Bing a few years ago of redacting results containing sensitive information.

Advertisements

– Video games –
In 2000 Beijing halted the sale of all consoles because of their alleged negative effects on the “mental health” of young users, although they remained available illegally.

After the ban was lifted, Microsoft in 2014 was the first foreign firm to break into the video games market in China with its Xbox One console.

Also in 2014, the Chinese competition authorities opened an anti-monopoly investigation against Microsoft and its Windows software.

Around 100 inspectors raided the group’s offices in four Chinese cities, confiscating files and questioning employees.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok ban: China accuses United States of “political suppression”

Advertisements

Beijing on Friday accused the United States of “suppression” after President Donald Trump ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese social media giants TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing that the US move came at the expense of American users and companies.

Trump’s executive orders, which take effect in 45 days, bar anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with the owners of TikTok or WeChat.

Advertisements

They come as the world’s two biggest economies clash over a host of issues from the coronavirus to Hong Kong and Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Trump’s orders say the social media giants are a threat to US “national security, foreign policy, and economy”, as the president seeks to curb China’s power in global technology.

Wang said “the US frequently abuses its national power and unjustifiably suppresses non-US companies”.

“At the expense of the rights and interests of US users and companies, the US… is carrying out arbitrary political manipulation and suppression,” he added.


#Newsworthy..

Breaking: Tik Tok threatens legal action over Trump’s ban order

Advertisements

TikTok threatens legal action in US over Trump order.

more to come…


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: Tech giant, Microsoft eyes Tik Tok

Advertisements

Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, Noble Reporters Media reported

Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US tech giant has been in discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent firm ByteDance, amid a call by US President Donald Trump to ban the popular app over national security concerns.

Advertisements

Trump and other officials have argued the app could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim repeatedly denied by TikTok, which does not operate within China.

According to the report, Microsoft has shifted its view because of the complexities of splitting the app and making it operable globally.

TikTok operates in some 150 countries and has an estimated billion users.

Trump has set a September 15 deadline for any deal that would take TikTok from the Chinese firm.


#Newsworthy…

United States Senate votes to ban Tik Tok

Advertisements

The US Senate voted Thursday to bar TikTok from being downloaded onto US government employees’ telephones, intensifying US scrutiny of the popular Chinese-owned video app.

The bill passed by the Republican controlled Senate now goes to the House of Representatives, led by Democrats.

“TikTok is a major security risk and has no place on government devices,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley, the sponsor of the bill.

Advertisements

President Donald Trump, who has locked horns with China on a range of issues including trade and the coronavirus pandemic, has set a deadline of mid-September for TikTok to be acquired by a US firm or be banned in the United States.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

TikTok is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, and Microsoft is in talks to buy the app’s US operations.

In this file photo taken on November 9, 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference with Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe during the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

The bill passed Thursday says no government employee, members of Congress or people at government corporations may download or use TikTok or any successor app developed by ByteDance “on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.”

Advertisements

It states that the only exceptions are “any investigation, cybersecurity research activity, enforcement action, disciplinary action, or intelligence activity.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US wants to bar from US phones not just TikTok but other Chinese apps which it deems to be threats to Americans’ personal data.

This illustration photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a person using the video-sharing app TikTok on a smartphone. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Washington says TikTok gleans massive amounts of personal data from hundreds of millions of users, which could be passed on to Chinese intelligence and used for spying purposes.

TikTok denies sending American user data back to China.


#Newsworthy..

In: Donald Trump gives Tik Tok six weeks ultimatum

Advertisements

US President Donald Trump gave popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, saying Monday it would be “out of business” otherwise, and that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

“It’s got to be an American company… it’s got to be owned here,” Trump said. “We don’t want to have any problem with security.”

Trump said that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok, which has as many as one billion worldwide users who make quirky 60-second videos with its smartphone app.

Advertisements

But US officials say the app constitutes a national security risk because it could share millions of Americans’ personal data with Chinese intelligence.

Trump gave the company’s Chinese parent ByteDance until mid-September to strike a deal.

“I set a date of around September 15, at which point it’s going to be out of business in the United States,” he said.

Whatever the price is, he said, “the United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible.”

Advertisements

Trump compared the demand for a piece of the pie to a landlord demanding under-the-table “key money” from a new tenant, a practice widely illegal including in New York, where the billionaire president built his real estate empire.

“TikTok is a big success, but a big portion of it is in the country,” he said. “I think it’s very fair.”

But Trump also threw a surprise new condition in any deal, saying the sale of TikTok’s US business would have to result in a significant payout to the US Treasury for initiating it.

“A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump told reporters.

Advertisements

“They don’t have any rights unless we give it to them,” he said.

Sell or shut down
The pressure for a sale of TikTok’s US and international business, based in Los Angeles, left the company and ByteDance facing tough decisions.

Trump has made TikTok the latest front in the ongoing political and trade battles between Washington and Beijing.

The app has been under formal investigation on US national security grounds because it collects large amounts of personal data on all its users and is legally bound to share that with authorities in Beijing if they demand it.

Advertisements

Both its huge user base and its algorithm for collecting data make it hugely valuable.

But being forced by the US government to sell at least its US business or be shut down — and to then split the sale price with the US Treasury as Trump is demanding — was an almost unheard-of tactic.

Shutting down could force users to switch to competitors, and many content creators are already encouraging followers to follow them on other social media platforms.

“The most obvious beneficiaries are Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, with Snapchat likely being the biggest beneficiary,” said investment analysts at Lightshed Partners.

Advertisements

Earlier Monday, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming acknowledged the hefty pressure and said in a letter to staff, reported by Chinese media, that they were working around-the-clock “for the best outcome.”

“We have always been committed to ensuring user data security, as well as the platform neutrality and transparency,” Zhang said.

However, he said, the company faces “mounting complexities across the geopolitical landscape and significant external pressure.”

He said the company must confront the challenge from the United States, though “without giving up exploring any possibilities.”

Advertisements

According to reports sourced by Noble Reporters Media, as a possible consequence of the pressure, ByteDance is planning to relocate TikTok’s global operations to Britain.

Pushing back
China’s foreign ministry pushed back Monday, calling Washington hypocritical for demanding TikTok be sold.

“The US is using an abused concept of national security and, without providing any evidence, is making presumptions of guilt and issuing threats to relevant companies,” said spokesman Wang Wenbin.

“This goes against the principle of market economy and exposes the hypocrisy and typical double standards of the US in upholding so-called fairness and freedom,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok users frowns at Trump’s threat of US ban

Advertisements

A TikTok star pounds a beat as she weaves lyrics mocking the idea of US President Donald Trump banning the short-form video-sharing app.

The “Trump Freestyle” post-Monday by @maya2960 quickly racked up more than a million views and 500,000 “likes” on the popular platform owned by China-based ByteDance.

“Didn’t think this through, little Donny, did you? Not much of a businessman,” she rapped.

“You can ban this app, there’ll be a new one. There’s supply where there’s demand.”

The lyrics included a promise that TikTok users would not go down without a fight, citing First Amendment protections against government censorship of free speech.

Advertisements

Another video snippet racking up views was captioned “Me trying to convince Trump to let us keep TikTok” and showed a woman coloring her face orange and building a brick wall.

American comedian Elijah Daniels used Twitter to bid farewell to his TikTok followers, giving “a big shout out to Donald Trump for mishandling the entire pandemic” but then taking away an app raising people’s spirits.

Twenty TikTok stars, whose combined followings top 100 million people, posted an open letter to Trump on Medium arguing against banning the app.

“A virtual world dominated by hate on Twitter is nothing compared to the snapshots of joy and comedy on TikTok,” read the open letter.

Advertisements

“So instead of eliminating TikTok, why not use this opportunity to spin off TikTok US in an IPO or sell it to a US company — let capitalism solve this issue, not the state.”

This illustration photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a person using the video-sharing app TikTok on a smartphone in New Delhi.
Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Trump wants a cut
Trump gave TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, saying Monday it would be “out of business” otherwise, and that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

“It’s got to be an American company… it’s got to be owned here,” Trump said. “We don’t want to have any problem with security.”

Trump said that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok, which has as many as one billion worldwide users who make quirky 60-second videos with its smartphone app.

Advertisements

But US officials say the app constitutes a national security risk because it could share millions of Americans’ personal data with Chinese intelligence.

Trump gave ByteDance until mid-September to strike a deal.

Whatever the price is, he said, “the United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible.”

Trump compared the demand for a piece of the pie to a landlord demanding under-the-table “key money” from a new tenant, a practice widely illegal including in New York, where the billionaire president built his real estate empire.

Trump also said the sale of TikTok’s US business would have to result in a significant payout to the US Treasury for initiating it.

Advertisements

Flop rally payback?
Some on TikTok suspect that the president’s threat is connected to the platform’s popularity among activists, such as those protesting racial discrimination.

Legions of K-pop fans and TikTok users took credit for upending a Trump rally in June by block-reserving tickets with no intention of attending the event — which wound up with an embarrassingly low turnout.

Prior to the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma — hyped as a major relaunch ahead of the November presidential election — Trump’s campaign chairman tweeted that more than a million tickets had been requested.

But according to the local fire department, just 6,200 people turned up.

Advertisements

“Now I don’t think it’s a coincidence after Tulsa was a flop; out of the blue, now suddenly you, want to go ahead and ban TikTok,” @maya2960 rapped.

TikTok appeals to a generation that spent their childhoods on the internet, seeing it evolve from a cornucopia of online platforms to a virtual world dominated by titans such as Facebook and Google, according to the open letter.

“There are serious concerns over how the app collects its data that merit an American response,” those signing the letter said.

“But ironically, it is the first company to challenge the companies that have put an end to the open internet.”

Advertisements

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors that the chances of Microsoft buying TikTok are strong.

“Microsoft buying TikTok would be a coup,” Ives said, noting the valuation could be worth some $40 billion.

Microsoft has prospered by focusing on serving businesses with software and services, but has stumbled when it comes to consumer products aside from Xbox video game offerings.

TikTok would be a chance to challenge Facebook in the social media space, according to Ives.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok ‘Out’ in United States if not sold – Trump

Advertisements

President Donald Trump said Monday that Chinese-owned hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok will be “out of business” in the United States if not sold to a US firm by September 15.

“I set a date of around September 15, at which point it’s going to be out of business in the United States,” he told reporters.

“It’ll close down on September 15th unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal.”


#Newsworthy…

Microsoft set to continue talks to acquire Tik Tok

Advertisements

Microsoft announced Sunday it would continue talks to acquire the US operations of popular video-sharing app TikTok, after meeting with President Donald Trump who seemingly backed off his earlier threats to ban the Chinese-owned platform.

“Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States,” the company said in a statement, acknowledging the “importance of addressing the President’s concerns” over national security.

Microsoft added that it would continue negotiations with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, with the intention of “completing these discussions no later than September 15.”

The statement came after Trump on Friday said he would ban the app, which is especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos and has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

Advertisements

TikTok should be sold or blocked in the US, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC earlier Sunday, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Fox News the president would “take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party.”

TikTok denies it could be a tool for Chinese intelligence, with its US general manager Vanessa Pappas declaring Saturday: “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2020 Microsoft Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, gestures as he addresses the Future Decoded Tech Summit in Bangalore. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

‘Biggest loser’
“The United States would be the biggest loser if it banned TikTok,” Daniel Castro, vice president of the think tank Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, said Saturday.

“All of its data centers are outside of China, and there is no evidence that it presents a national security threat.”

Advertisements

Trump said he would use an executive order to ban TikTok, or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law granting the president powers to regulate international trade in the face of an “unusual and extraordinary threat” from abroad to US foreign policy, national security or the economy.

His threat has caused great concern for US TikTok users, particularly content creators who make money on the platform.

Many of them have posted links to their Instagram or YouTube accounts so as not to lose followers if the platform is ultimately blocked.

In its statement, Microsoft said it plans to “build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”

Advertisements

Buying TikTok would give Microsoft a chance to break into the social networking market.

The IT group currently owns the professional networking platform LinkedIn, and Teams, an internal messaging service for companies.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

‘Bizarre’
Pappas promised Saturday to create 10,000 US jobs at TikTok over the next three years, in addition to the 1,500 current employees.

“Don’t fall for this,” responded senior Trump aide Peter Navarro, a fierce China critic and a main architect of the trade war with Beijing.

Advertisements

“China has hired a whole bunch of American lobbyists. They put a puppet CEO in charge of that company,” he told Fox News, referring to former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, who became the CEO of TikTok in May.

On Friday evening Trump indicated he opposed a takeover of TikTok by an American company, a solution nevertheless agreed to by most of the involved parties, including ByteDance, according to The New York Times.

“This is getting bizarre. A 100 percent sale to an American company… mitigates any reasonable data protection concerns,” tweeted Alex Stamos, a former Facebook head of security and a researcher at Stanford University.

“If the White House kills this (sale) we know this isn’t about national security,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Mnuchin: Tik Tok be ‘sold or blocked’

Advertisements

TikTok must either be sold or blocked in the US due to national security concerns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday in the latest ominous US warning to the Chinese-owned app.

TikTok, he said, simply “cannot exist as it does.”

Mnuchin did not comment directly on President Donald Trump’s threat Friday to bar the wildly popular video-sharing app.

Advertisements

The secretary recalled that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — which he chairs — is reviewing TikTok, which is especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos and has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

But in one of many fronts in US-Chinese relations that have turned practically poisonous these days, US officials have said it could be a tool for Chinese intelligence. TikTok denies any such suggestion.

“I will say publicly that the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

Mnuchin said he has spoken to leaders of Congress including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer about what to do with TikTok’s operations in the US.

Advertisements

“We agree there needs to be a change. Force a sale or block the app. Everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does,” Mnuchin said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that negotiations for Microsoft to buy the US operations of TikTok, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, are on hold after Trump threatened to bar the app.

TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its general manager for the US, Vanessa Pappas, telling users that the company was working to give them “the safest app,” amid US concerns over data security.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Pappas said in a message released on the app.


#Newsworthy…

As Trump’s ban looms, Tik Tok sale uncertain – New Report

Advertisements

Negotiations for Microsoft to buy the US operations of Chinese-owned TikTok are on hold after President Donald Trump threatened to bar the social media app and came out against the sale, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Trump has pledged to get tough on the massively popular video-sharing app, which US officials have said could be a tool for Chinese intelligence — a claim the firm, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has repeatedly denied.

While there has been no sign yet of the ban he threatened on Friday to impose, his words were reportedly already adding to uncertainties for TikTok.

Advertisements

“Before Mr. Trump’s remarks, the two sides believed the broad strokes of a deal could be in place by Monday,” the paper reported on a possible TikTok-Microsoft sale, citing unnamed sources.

It also said Trump’s threats and opposition to the deal had prompted TikTok to make further concessions, including adding up to 10,000 jobs in the US over the next three years.

TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its general manager for the US, Vanessa Pappas, telling users that the company was working to give them “the safest app,” amid US concerns over data security.

Advertisements

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Pappas said in a message released on the app.

TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

It has grown even faster as the coronavirus pandemic has pushed people physically away from each other, but into close contact online.

Earlier media reports had suggested Trump would require that the app’s US operations be divested from ByteDance, but he instead announced a ban.

Advertisements

Trump’s announcement drew criticism from some in the tech sector, including former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos, who questioned whether the move was spurred by national security concerns.

“A 100 per cent sale to an American company would have been considered a radical solution two weeks ago and, eventually, mitigates any reasonable data protection concerns,” he wrote on Twitter.

TikTokers employed the apps’ signature short-form videos to poke fun at Trump.

One clip that was liked over 300,000 times shows a young woman stacking bricks and smearing orange paint on her face, apparent digs at the president’s skin tone and controversial pledge to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

Advertisements

“Me trying to convince Trump to let us keep TikTok”, read the text on the post.

‘For the long run’
The American Civil Liberties Union cried foul over the possibility of a ban on the app.

“Banning an app that millions of Americans use to communicate with each other is a danger to free expression and is technologically impractical,” said the ACLU’s surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, Jennifer Granick.

“With any Internet platform, we should be concerned about the risk that sensitive private data will be funnelled to abusive governments, including our own,” Granick said in a statement.

Advertisements

“But shutting one platform down, even if it were legally possible to do so, harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance.”

Pappas said she was “proud” of TikTok’s 1,500 US employees, and also noted the “additional 10,000 jobs” the company plans on creating in the US in the next three years.

“When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

“So we appreciate the support. We’re here for the long run, and continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”


#Newsworthy…

Donald Trump threatens to ban Tik Tok

Advertisements

President Donald Trump said Friday he will bar fast-growing social media app TikTok from the United States as American authorities have raised concerns the service could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.

US officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have voiced fears of the wildly popular video platform being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese government.

Media reports circulated earlier Friday saying that Trump would require the US operations of the app be divested from its Chinese parent firm ByteDance, but the president announced a ban.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”

He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or an executive order. However, it was unclear how such a move may be enforced.

Advertisements

TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated billion users worldwide.

TikTok declined to comment on the reports of the forced sales, saying only: “We are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.

(FILES) In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform.”

Trump’s move comes following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, which investigates deals affecting US national security.

Advertisements

The firm this week pledged a high level of transparency, including allowing reviews of its algorithms, to assure users and regulators.

“We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and have no agenda — our only objective is to remain a vibrant, dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy,” TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said in post this week.

“TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.”

Earlier this month Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the administration was “looking at” banning the app in the US.

Advertisements

The comments prompted popular TikTokers to consider migrating to platforms such as YouTube, Noble Reporters Media gathered.

Late Friday TikTok users reacted furiously to the news, telling fans to follow them on different platforms and criticising the president.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from the White House on July 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/AFP

‘Close to zero’
The popularity of the platform surged after ByteDance acquired US-based app Musical.ly in 2017 and merged it with its own video service.

Earlier reports had suggested that Microsoft was in talks to acquire TikTok, which could be valued in the tens of billions of dollars, but Trump’s move would scupper such a purchase.

Advertisements

James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he believes the security risk of using TikTok is “close to zero” but that ByteDance could face pressure from China to engage in censorship.

“It looks like ByteDance may be getting squeezed by Beijing, so making them divest makes sense,” Lewis said. “They could start censoring stuff.”

Lewis said US authorities under CFIUS have the power to unwind an acquisition previously approved and that a similar action was taken in 2019 with the dating app Grindr after it was bought by a Chinese firm.

India has already barred TikTok over national security and privacy concerns while other countries are reportedly mulling similar measures.


#Newsworthy…

Egyptian bags 3 years jail term over Tik Tok videos

Advertisements

An Egyptian court Wednesday jailed the sixth woman in a week over TikTok videos, deeming the clips in which she dances and lip-syncs to popular songs to be “inciting debauchery”, a judicial source said.

The sentencing of Manar Samy to three years imprisonment is the latest in a string of such rulings against popular female social media users in Egypt over content posted to the image-sharing apps TikTok and Instagram.

Samy was arrested earlier in July on charges of “inciting debauchery, immorality and stirring up instincts” through her online videos, according to a prosecution statement.

Advertisements

Prosecutors found her videos — in which she dances and lip-syncs to popular music — to be “offensive to public decency” and to have been posted “with the aim of committing prostitution”.

According to the judicial source, the verdict can be appealed and “includes a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($19,000)”.

Her bail was set at 20,000 pounds, the source added.

Samy’s lawyer Hani Basyoni later told AFP the “bail has been paid but her release could be postponed until after the Eid al-Adha holiday ends on Monday”.

Advertisements

The court scheduled an appeal hearing for August 15, he added.

Wednesday’s ruling came days after another court sentenced five female social media influencers, Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others, to two years each in jail over content posted to TikTok.

Egypt has in recent years enforced strict internet controls through laws allowing authorities to block websites seen as a threat to national security and to monitor personal social media accounts with over 5,000 followers. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) 

In their short videos on the app, the young women appear doing satirical lip-syncs, comedic skits, dance videos and voice-overs — content that is widely popular around the world on the mobile app.

Hossam was arrested in April after posting a short clip on social media saying that girls could make money by working with her, a message that was interpreted as a call for prostitution.

Advertisements

In May, authorities arrested Adham, who had posted satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram.

The targeting of female influencers rekindled a heated debate in the deeply conservative Muslim country over what constitutes individual freedoms and “social norms”.

The clampdown is however not unusual in Egypt, where several belly dancers and pop singers have been targeted in recent years over online content deemed too racy or suggestive.

Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced belly dancer Sama al-Masry to three years in jail for inciting “debauchery” on social media over posts deemed sexually suggestive.

Advertisements

Activists and legal experts have long criticised the crackdown on individual freedoms under loosely worded offences.

“The charges of spreading debauchery or violating family values are very loose… and its definition is broad,” rights lawyer Intissar al-Saeed previously told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

Rights groups say more freedoms have been curtailed in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who took office in 2014.

Egypt has in recent years enforced strict internet controls through laws allowing authorities to block websites seen as a threat to national security and to monitor personal social media accounts with over 5,000 followers.


#Newsworthy…

Indecency: Tik Tok influencers bags 2-year jail term in Egypt

Advertisements

An Egyptian court Monday sentenced five female social media influencers to two years in jail each on charges of violating public morals, a judicial source said.

The verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others came after they had posted footage on video-sharing app TikTok.

“The Cairo economic court sentenced Hossam, Adham and three others to two years after they were convicted of violating society’s values,” the judicial source said.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. –  (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) / 
Advertisements

The ruling, which can be appealed, included a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,750) for each defendant, the source noted.

Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3 million followers that girls could make money by working with her.

A woman watches a video of Egyptian influencer Haneen Hossam, who was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020.  (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

In May, authorities arrested Adham who had posted satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram, where she has at least two million followers.

Lawyer Ahmed Hamza al-Bahqiry said the young women are facing separate charges over the sources of their funds.

Advertisements

The arrests highlight a social divide in the deeply conservative Muslim country over what constitutes individual freedoms and “social norms”.

A woman watches a video of influencer Mowada al-Adham, who was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020.  (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Human rights lawyer Tarek al-Awadi has previously told AFP that the influencers’ arrests showed how society was wrestling with the rapid rise of modern communications technology.

Internet penetration has reached over 40 percent of Egypt’s youthful population of more than 100 million.

– ‘Dangerous indicator’ –
“The verdict is shocking, though it was expected. We will see what happens on appeal,” said womens rights lawyer Intissar al-Saeed.

Advertisements

“It is still a dangerous indicator… Regardless of the divergent views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it still is not a reason for imprisonment.”

A woman watches a video of Egyptian influencer Haneen Hossam, who was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020.  (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Egypt has in recent years cracked down on female singers and dancers over online content deemed too racy or suggestive.

Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced belly dancer Sama al-Masry to three years in jail for inciting “debauchery” on social media over posts deemed sexually suggestive.

In 2018, a female singer was detained for “incitement to debauchery” after an online video clip that included sensual oriental dance moves went viral.

Advertisements

The previous year, a female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.

A woman watches a video of influencer Mowada al-Adham, who was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

“The charges of spreading debauchery or violating family values are very loose… and its definition is broad,” said Saeed.

Egypt has in recent years enforced strict internet controls through laws allowing authorities to block websites seen as a threat to national security and to monitor personal social media accounts with over 5,000 followers.


#Newsworthy…