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On Sunday, July 31, 2020, Microsoft confirmed their interest in buying TikTok from its producers. Having already planned to talk with the technology company, ByteDance, responsible for the app it seems likely that by September 15 users will have an answer on whether Microsoft actually succeded.
The announcement was surprisingly released in a blog post after Trump’s recent unsuccessful effort to ban TikTok. Microsoft CEO Satya Nedella talked with Trump about buying the app instead of talking with ByteDance right away.
The company’s executives state they are “looking forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including the President.” This is an odd statement taking into consideration of the ban threat by Trump. People have criticized the president’s actions. They further decry it as a threat against free speech rather than a way to protect users from illegal government surveillance.
Nonetheless, the company adds that “it will move quickly” to talk with ByteDance in the upcoming weeks.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticized the legality of banning a public app in the U.S. since Trump does not have any dictatorial power of any kind. If he does choose to ban it would be under the ruse of an “emergency economic powers or an executive order,” although this has not been confirmed as true by any other party.
Choosing using an executive order would be a terrible abuse of his position especially during a pandemic such as this. Following through with it will shake what few younger supporters he has. It would also deter others since his top priorities are an entertainment app instead of a million hospitals being overrun with dying patients and families without money due to job losses due to the pandemic.
After Trump’s public threat against the China-owned app, US General manager of TikTok, Vanessa Pappas shared a video to address TikTok user’s concerns:
We’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.
When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app, because we know it’s the right thing to do.
Trump has and still is criticized harshly for being “more businessman than a politician.” Even now, his “business prowess” has been called into question. There are claims that Trump’s vendetta against TikTok is not only because of a privacy concern.
Last month many TikTok users have “ruined” his Tulsa rally by signing up for tickets and intentionally not showing up, leaving his rate of attendance for his supporters abysmal. Most of the users of TikTok are generally young and liberal/left so Trump’s actions against the platform can be considered biased.
Written by Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
BBC News: TikTok: US general manager Pappas says app ‘here for the long run’
BBC News: Microsoft and TikTok talks continue after Trump call
CNN: Microsoft says it is still talking with Trump about buying TikTok from its Chinese owner
TechCrunch: Trump told reporters he will use executive power to ban TikTok
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of David Stanley’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License