Wednesday, October 21, 2020

TikTok soon fixed on its fate in the United States

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The immediate future of TikTok in the United States will be sealed on Sunday, September 27, after a hearing before a judge, who is responsible for confirming or suspending the disappearance in the country of the popular application from Sunday evening, as decided by the government of Donald Trump.

The hearing, decided after an emergency appeal from Tiktok, is scheduled in Washington around 3:30 p.m. (Paris time) before Judge Carl Nichols. It is closely watched by the business community and by Beijing, for whom the app, and more particularly its technology – its algorithm – is a gem.

Read also US takes concrete action to ban TikTok and WeChat

If the magistrate confirms the US president’s decision to ban TikTok in the United States, the popular application will no longer be downloadable in the country as of Monday at 5:59 a.m. (Paris time). Current American users could then continue to use the app, but without being able to update.

“Irreparable damage”

But the judge can also give a respite to the music and comedy video app, which is visited by 100 million Americans every month. This was the case a week ago for WeChat, another tech flagship founded in China. It is not excluded that an agreement will be reached between the Trump administration and the Chinese parent company of TikTok, ByteDance.

Read also Despite the ban wanted by Donald Trump, the WeChat application remains accessible in the United States

TikTok had requested this week an urgent appeal to the federal court in Washington, assuring that its ban would not be in accordance with the Constitution of the country. The platform also argues that blocking downloads would cause it irreparable damage, as it gained some 424,000 new US users every day in early summer.

In early August, Donald Trump signed an executive order to force Chinese group ByteDance to sell the platform to an American company, in the name of the threat to the “National security” – he has long accused TikTok of spying on its users for the benefit of Beijing, without evidence.

No evidence of espionage

A final sales plan, announced last weekend, involves the creation of a new company, TikTok Global, involving Oracle as a technology partner in the United States and Walmart as a business partner. There would also be a stake of 12.5% ​​from Oracle and 7.5% from Walmart. The Americans would hold four of the five seats on the board. But the finalization of this project depends on the goodwill of the American president and the Chinese government.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also TikTok: agreement in sight with the Oracle-Walmart tandem

TikTok has indeed become the new symbol of the battle between the United States and China for the domination of the high-tech sector. Donald Trump has been accusing the app of spying for the benefit of Beijing for months by collecting data from its users – without proof.

Urgent appeal

On Monday, the White House host, campaigning for his re-election, insisted that he would not give his approval if the new group remained under Chinese control while claiming that Oracle and Walmart would own the majority of the new group.

ByteDance, which includes US investors, called the information “False rumors”. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, a complete ban on TikTok’s activities on American soil could come into effect from November 12, the Treasury warned. But ByteDance said it performed a ” authorization request “ technology export, without specifying on what subject.

This initiative could concern the famous algorithm that made TikTok so successful: it allows users to display the content most likely to interest them, according to their tastes, and to lead them to spend as much time as possible viewing videos on the platform.

China refuses to let this precious computer system fall into the hands of the United States.

The World with AFP

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