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TikTok ban: Some Americans skeptical of Trump’s motives

China Plus Published: 2020-08-04 10:23:02

U.S. President Donald Trump says the TikTok ban is based on national security concerns, that the company is feeding user data to the Chinese government, but some Americans are questioning his motives. CGTN’s reporter has more details.

This combination of picture shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok and U.S. President Donald Trump. [Photo: AFP]

This combination of picture shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok and U.S. President Donald Trump. [Photo: AFP]

On August 1, Forbes published a commentary asking “what if there’s another reason why Trump wants to turn off TikTok, something driven not by high-minded policy but by something as simple as hurt feelings.”

The article referred to a theory circulating among TikTokers: “What if this has nothing to do with China, and nothing to do with national security? What if this has everything to do with Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June?”

It said the campaign event was ruined by TikTokers and other young people online who coordinated a campaign to register for tickets to the event and never show up. The article was, of course, pure speculation, but it said the argument “made sense and had a compelling timeline”.

Some media outlets — such as the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and Vogue magazine — also reported that online users were linking the ban with Sara Cooper, a comedian who rose to fame for lip-syncing Trump on TikTok. She even posted a clip Friday impersonating the president while he discussed the App, before boarding a helicopter.

The Hill website reported that The American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday denounced Trump’s move and said blocking the app, which millions of Americans use for communication, would be “a danger to free expression and technologically impractical”.

Meanwhile, an analysis by James Clayton — BBC North America’s technology correspondent — said that Trump’s dislike of TikTok goes further than just privacy concerns. He said “Tiktok said it doesn’t keep any data in China, and would never give it to China”. He added that “in many ways, it doesn’t matter what they say, the fact that it is owned by a Chinese company, is guilt enough.”

(Story includes material sourced from CGTN.)

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