TikTok is not messing around. The social media platform, which is used for sharing short videos, is owned by ByteDance, which is a Beijing-based firm, and some U.S. politicians have used this China connection to allege that there’s a danger of the company’s data ending up in the hands of the Chinese government. There is no specific, concrete evidence connecting the company’s data to the Chinese government — U.S. user data is even stored in the U.S. — but that didn’t stop President Donald Trump from issuing an executive order this week demanding the sale of the platform within 45 days. In response, TikTok has issued a statement condemning the administration for having “paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
Trump’s new executive order stipulates that if TikTok is not sold within the allotted time frame, it will be banned from operating in the United States. Again, to be clear — there is no concrete evidence tying the company’s data to the Chinese government. Trump and his political allies simply seem to revel in going on political benders against China.
‘We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses… There has been, and continues to be, no due process or adherence to the law.’
The company did not even stop with their own concerns. They also pointed out that the Trump administration’s belligerence could be a drag on the business environment in the U.S. as a whole. As the platform put it, Trump’s order “risks undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law” and “sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets.” They also pledged to pursue “all remedies” that are available, suggesting that there’s a steep court battle on the horizon.
Trump has, for some time, been sharply focused on antagonizing China. He has belligerently insisted on referring to the Coronavirus as the “China Virus,” although some of the spread in the U.S. didn’t even come from China; rather, it is believed to have partly come from Europe. At this point, the virus is spread across the face of the earth, and it certainly has no nationality — but Trump seemingly can’t resist turning a crisis of life and death into a political spectacle anyway.
He’s consistently seemed more concerned with scoring political points against China than he’s been with actually taking the steps that are necessary to protecting Americans against the pandemic. He could have worked to secure more of the necessary personal protective equipment, and he could have worked to secure earlier testing. He tweeted.