Is Trump's WeChat, TikTok ban order direct hit at China? Internet wants to sue govt for cutting link with friends

The executive order says that the spread of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the US


                            Is Trump's WeChat, TikTok ban order direct hit at China? Internet wants to sue govt for cutting link with friends
Trump (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has issued executive orders on August 6 to ban popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat from being used in the United States in 45 days. The move comes after the Trump administration believes that TikTok is a threat to national security and breaches data. 

The executive order says that the spread of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Trump mentions in the order that action must be taken to address the threat posed by mobile application in particular, TikTok.   


TikTok or WeChat is a threat?

TikTok is a video sharing mobile application owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It was reportedly downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally. The executive order mentions that TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. It further adds that it allows Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information. The order confirms that the app allows China to “track the location of Federal employees, contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage”. This is why the app is seen as a threat to national security. 

WeChat and its sister app Weixin in China are immensely popular messaging apps; many Chinese expatriates use WeChat to stay in touch with friends and family back home. WeChat states it doesn’t share data with the Chinese government and that it does not store international user data in China either. US user data is stored in Canada.
Tencent is the owner company but this ban could affect users beyond WeChat, which is crucial for personal communications and organizations that do business with China. 

In this photo illustration, a mobile phone featuring the TikTok app is displayed next to the Microsoft logo on August 03, 2020 in New York City. Under threat of a U.S. ban on the popular social media app, it has been reported that Microsoft is considering taking over from Chinese firm ByteDance. (Getty Images)

Vengeance with China?

The executive order mentions that TikTok reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party believes is “politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities”. It is further being said in the order that the mobile application is used to spread disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party. The order mentions retorts that many TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.Trump has also banned Chinese social media, payment and messaging app WeChat. It blocks Americans from making any financial transactions with Tencent Holdings, Ltd., WeChat's owner.

It is further being said in the order that the mobile application is used to spread disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party (Getty Images)

Internet rages over  bans

After the news of President Trump signing the executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat in 45 days was out, the Internet was enraged. Many people felt that their lines of communication with their loved ones were being cut and that it would their well being. Some are now calling to sue the US government for this order. A user tweeted, “This is crazy. Wechat is for my connection with my friends and family in China, it strongly affects my personal well-being, can I sue the government for that?”



 

 

Others feel that in such difficult times, such moves are only going to isolate them more and the government might be seeking electoral gains from it. “Sure, I guess that's a way to alienate a whole new young demographic of voters”.



 

 

Many people are questioning if America has built enough technologically advanced apps to support communication unlike Russia and China. One wrote, “How does one ban communication on the world wide Internet. I know China and Russia have the tech, but have we been developing the same ability to ban communication on the net as well, much less USE it?”.



 

 

Some people are confused as to how WeChat poses a threat to security. “I use WeChat to communicate with my Asian college classmates. What’s the issue with we chat?”. Chinese app WeChat that was released in 2011 became the world's largest standalone mobile app in 2018 with 1 billion monthly active users around the world. 



 

 

Some called the order the most “pointless order” given that Microsoft is going to reap benefits from this. Earlier in July, Trump had given a deadline of September 15 to “close down” TikTok unless Microsoft or another company acquires it. “The most pointless executive order just holds for the signing ceremony because Microsoft is practically there with TikTok and then he’s going to take credit for something he had no hand in.” 

 



 

 

Many brought up the issue of job losses if the order materializes. “The Tencent stuff is indeed the most worrisome. That’s Reddit, Epic Games and so many more. There will be ripples and job losses. Or nothing will happen. As you say, very diplomatically, the EO is ambiguous. (I would have said amateurish, drivel or sloppy).” 



 

 

Some argued if Trump would have banned Twitter the same way had it been owned by China. “If Twitter were owned by China, would Trump ban it? This has zero to do with national security & everything to do with a man-baby who wants revenge on a bunch of teens. So much for our free market economy”. 



 

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