Some Senators such as Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio want TikTok to be banned, or at the very least, investigated for censorship. Mike Pompeo, ex-CIA turned Secretary of State, says that the United States should probably ban TikTok after India banned it last week.
Pompeo announced on Monday that the government is looking into banning Chinese social media apps, in which TikTok is included. The reasoning mentioned behind this action is that the apps share user data with the Chinese government.
TikTok has said that it has data storage facilities in the U.S. and Singapore. However, it's unclear if all of American TikTok user's photos and usernames are stored there. TikTok said it would appease India, which banned the company along with 58 other Chinese apps last week. TikTok mentioned that it could store all of the Indian data on a server located in India. The company stated that it would build the data storage facility a year ago; however, it hasn't delivered it.
Pompeo mentioned in an interview with Fox News this week: "I don't want to get out in front of the President, but it's something we're looking at."
National security concerns were raised by the Senators over TikTok's handling of user data, stating that they were worried about Chinese laws demanding domestic companies to "support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."
Trump had the opportunity to experience TikTok when some users from the platform overwhelmed his rally by purchasing tickets with no intent on using them. This resulted in a bad optic for Trump's first-ever, half-empty, rally. However, the question is, was Trump pranked by TikTok users by blocking real ticket holders from attending, or was it due to the coronavirus scare. The TikTok prank scenario is a better excuse compared to others.
TikTok has gone to near equivalence with the U.S. when it comes to new consumer technology, thus making it the most visible symbol of China. For example, the West has Whatsapp; they have WeChat. We have Snapchat and Instagram; they have TikTok. It wasn't some South American or European company that developed TikTok; it was Chinese. China is getting the hang of consumer tech, and they are on a global scale, while other countries are not.
TikTok is the smaller child of China in the consumer tech market, and it can meet, match, and surpass anything that the Western tech companies create.
While TikTok is the smaller child, the bigger boy version is Huawei. The company has been sanctioned with bans on U.S. companies selling microchips to help the company build a massive 5G infrastructure around the world.
When China established all-embracing new national security laws for Honk Kong, TikTok announced that it would be leaving its head office within days.
One of the possible issues with banning TikTok, will the be the fact that Silicon Valley has money invested in it. Sequoia Capital of Menlo Park, California, has invested over $100 million into the parent company, ByteDance. However, it's believed they invested through their China unit.
However, if looking back and taking the example of Huawei, other more prominent companies, such as Intel, have had a long-lasting relationship with Huawei. They have been unsuccessful in trying to convince The Capitol to get off the Chinese company's back. It's most likely that Silicon Valley will fail in getting Washington to back off from TikTok.
India's move to ban TikTok is since the country is in the middle of a highly heated conflict at the border with China. This dispute has gotten many Indians to turn away from Chinese tech products, which resulted in a small boycott on Chinese products.
After this, Indian activists targeted TikTok at one of their Indian offices. Soon after, the Indian government banned dozens of apps from the Indian App Store and Google Play store. Looking at the U.S., it has its geopolitical conflicts with China, and the timing would influence Washington to make a move regarding TikTok.