TikTok becomes focus of US-China geopolitical war

TikTok becomes focus of US-China geopolitical war

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Washington: The video sharing app TikTok has achieved great success, has caused a global social media sensation, and has also become the focus of the geopolitical war between China and the United States.

US President Donald Trump called the app a national security risk, claiming that TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance can access user data and provide it to Chinese intelligence services.

Trump’s executive order will prohibit re-downloading TikTok from Sunday night, and prohibit the use of TikTok from November 12, unless a transaction to reorganize its ownership is realized.

700 million users
TikTok has received about 2 billion downloads and its user base is estimated at 700 million, making it one of the largest players in the social media space.

It is known for user-generated short videos of 15 to 60 seconds, many of which contain dancing, parody, or comments on news. You can add filters and special effects.

With the addition of new content and popular “influencers” joining the platform, the coronavirus pandemic has helped TikTok expand its user base so that it is not limited to young smartphone users.

The app was created as Muscal.ly in 2016, acquired by ByteDance in 2017, and renamed the global version of the Chinese app, called Douyin.

According to the company, TikTok has 100 million users in the United States alone, with 50 million logging in every day. Before July, when reports of the ban began to circulate, TikTok added about 400,000 American users every day.

Spy threat?
Although its weird video looks harmless, TikTok has reviewed potential security threats.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio called in 2019 to investigate TikTok’s links with the Chinese authorities, and in 2020 the Department of Defense required all its personnel to delete the app.

TikTok has denied any contact with the Chinese government and claimed that Beijing cannot access its servers.

TikTok said in a recent statement: “We store all US user data in the United States, and the backup redundancy is stored in Singapore.”

“TikTok’s data center is completely located outside of China.”

But the White House executive order in August stated that TikTok “automatically captured a large amount of user information” and “threatened the CCP’s access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information”.

According to the White House, this may allow China to “track the locations of federal employees and contractors, establish personal information files for extortion, and conduct corporate espionage.”

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