Archive for TikTok

TikTok To Sue Trump Over Impending Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 8, 2020 by itnerd

On the to do list for TikTok this Tuesday is to sue the Trump administration over their attempt to ban them or force a sale to an American entity according to a source of NPR:

NPR has learned that the lawsuit will argue that President Trump’s far-reaching action is unconstitutional because it failed to give the company a chance to respond. It also alleges that the administration’s national security justification for the order is baseless, according to the source.

“It’s based on pure speculation and conjecture,” the source said. “The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.”

I’m not at all surprised by this as you knew that TikTok were not going to take this lying down. And it will be interesting to see how the courts handle this. And you have to wonder what the Trump administration will do if it loses in court.

Get the popcorn ready.

Things Have Really Escalated In Terms Of TikTok v. Donald Trump. And They’ve Gotten Weird too.

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 4, 2020 by itnerd

Reuters is reporting that China’s ruling Communist Party blasted the efforts of the US to force a sale of TikTok to Microsoft via an editorial in the China Daily newspaper, saying it will not accept the “theft” of a Chinese tech company and is ready to respond if needed.

Now here’s how I read this. A lot of western companies build stuff in China. So I can easily see a scenario where China uses that as a way to hit back at the US. And that is certain to ratchet the tension up further.

But there’s also something weird about this whole situation. President Trump reiterated last that TikTok must sell off its U.S. operations in 45 days and that the deal must include a substantial payment to the U.S. government, otherwise the app would be banned.

I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it,” said Trump, according to Bloomberg. 

“It’ll close down on 15 September unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal, an appropriate deal, so the Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money,” he added.

That honestly sounds like something a mobster would say. Think about it. A private company potentially buys another company and the government of the day wants a cut for no other reason than because it can. That’s sketchy at best as it isn’t clear how the federal government could demand a cut of a transaction between two companies neither of which it has a stake in. That’s on top of the fact that it isn’t clear how Trump can ban TikTok.

Buckle up. This is going to get interesting.

BREAKING: Microsoft Restarts Discussions To Buy TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 2, 2020 by itnerd

This is really a fast moving story. Just when it seemed like TikTok was going to forced to divest its US assets by President Trump, then Microsoft started to talk about buying those assets, only to blocked by President Trump who was talking up an outright ban of TikTok which stopped Microsoft cold, it now seems that after talking to Trump, discussions are back on again:

Microsoft said Sunday it will continue talks to buy short-form video app TikTok after its chief executive spoke with President Donald Trump, following a weekend of uncertainty clouding the future of the China-owned app.

Microsoft said in a blog post that chief executive Satya Nadella and Trump had spoken and that the company is committed to addressing Trump’s concerns about the social media platform. Trump previously indicated he was not in favor of a deal and stated he planned to ban TikTok in the United States.

He had also been weighing options over the past few days to force Beijing-based parent company ByteDance to divest in TikTok in the U.S. due to national security concerns, according to people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Microsoft confirmed it will “move quickly” on discussions with ByteDance and said it has given the U.S. government notice of a possible acquisition of the U.S. assets of TikTok.

This the first time Microsoft has confirmed that the company is in talks for Microsoft to purchase TikTok operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“This new structure would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections,” the tech giant said in its post.

Perhaps Trump figured out that he could not actually ban TikTok as perhaps he’s received advice that the executive order that he said he was going to sign yesterday would be taken out in a court very quickly. Or perhaps he’s now afraid of the blowback from China as the US has a bit of a cold war of sorts with China at the moment on a variety of fronts. Or it could be that Microsoft buying them is the best option as it would take the app out of Chinese hands. Whatever the reason this is the latest plot twist in a story that seems to have more twists than a climb in the French Alpes. Stay tuned. This is far from over.

Microsoft Presses Pause On TikTok US Asset Acquisition

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 1, 2020 by itnerd

Now that President Trump has announced an outright ban of the Chinese owned TikTok, which hasn’t happened yet by the way, we now have a report that Microsoft who was interested in buying TikTok’s US assets, has hit pause on that:

Microsoft is pausing negotiations over TikTok’s US operations amid hostility from President Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Microsoft and the Chinese parent company ByteDance were in “advanced talks” over a potential sale and were “caught off guard” when Trump voiced his opposition to the deal on Friday.

I bet they were caught off guard. But there’s more:

One source told The Journal that Trump’s opposition to a sale came as a surprise, and another source told the newspaper that the White House had previously appeared to want TikTok to be “American owned.”

The deal isn’t “dead,” according to the Journal’s report, but both companies are seeking more information from the White House on the best next steps for the app.

The thing is, TikTok isn’t taking this lying down:

Tiktok’s US General Manager Vanessa Pappas appeared in a one-minute video released Saturday morning in response to Trump’s comment about banning the app.

Here’s the video:

Let’s see where this story goes next. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Trump Says He’s Banning TikTok In The US…. And It Could Happen Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 1, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday the news started to leak out US President Donald Trump was going to sign an executive order to force ByteDance to divest itself of its holdings in TikTok in the US. Then an hour or so later, news emerged that Microsoft was interested in buying those parts of TikTok. But that now seems to off the table as Trump has announced on Air Force One to the reporters on the flight that he’s going to ban TikTok outright.

Well, this is sure to really get the Chinese really mad. Plus it will likely cause the heads of TikTok users in the US to explode. But it will also likely cause a domino effect of countries banning TikTok. Seeing as this is allegedly going to happen today, keep an eye on this space for updates.

BREAKING: Microsoft Is Said To Be In Talks To Buy TikTok’s US Operations

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 31, 2020 by itnerd

From the “I didn’t see this coming” department comes this news that Microsoft is looking to buy TikTok’s US operations:

Amid reports that President Donald Trump plans to order TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the social-media app’s US operations, Microsoft has emerged as a potential buyer.

News of the talks was reported first by Fox Business Network’s Charles Gasparino on Friday and later by The New York Times and Bloomberg.

In a statement to Business Insider, a TikTok representative said, “While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.” Microsoft declined to comment.

Well, this is one hell of a plot twist. Clearly I shouldn’t have any plans for this evening as this is an evolving story. Buckle up!

BREAKING: Trump To Sign Executive Order To Force ByteDance To Divest Itself Of TikTok Related Operations In The US

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 31, 2020 by itnerd

According to Bloomberg, the Chinese owned social media network TikTok may be about to face a ban of sorts in the US as President Trump is looking to sign an executive order to force its US operations out of Chinese hands:

President Donald Trump plans to announce a decision ordering China’s ByteDance Ltd. to divest its ownership of the popular U.S.-based music-video app TikTok, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. has been investigating potential national security risks due to the company’s control of the app, and Trump’s decision could be announced as soon as Friday.

Spokespeople for the White House and Treasury Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A TikTok spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment.

I wonder just how this will be achieved and most importantly, if China will allow it even assuming that the US administration can pull this off somehow. It’s all very sketchy to me. But I suppose we’ll find out shortly.

TikTok’s Woes Mount As Japan Considers Banning It And Other Chinese Apps

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 29, 2020 by itnerd

A group of Japanese lawmakers is seeking to restrict the use of TikTok and other apps developed by Chinese firms, following in the footsteps of India, which has already blocked dozens of Chinese apps, and the U.S., which is floating the idea:

The decision was first reported by Japanese national broadcaster NHK. The lawyers shared the same concern as officials in the U.S. and India that their domestic user data could end up in the hands of Beijing, and planned to submit the proposal to the Japanese government as early as September. Japan was one of TikTok’s first overseas success cases despite being considered a tough nut for foreign internet firms to crack. The nascent localization team went all out to attract celebrity users and made its breakthrough with Kinoshita Yukina, a TV personality, after holding “six or seven rounds of discussions” with her studio. Kinoshita’s participation ushered in other stars, who brought with them flocks of fans to the platform. In the Japanese iOS store, TikTok has consistently ranked at the top among entertainment apps and is the fifth-most downloaded app across all categories in the country as of this writing, according to research firm App Annie.

Much as I thought, the avalanche of countries banning Chinese apps is growing. There is a serious mistrust of Chinese made apps because of the behavior of TikTok and other apps. I predict that you will see more of this as time goes on. Which means that I fully expect that tomorrow, and in the next week or two that you will see more announcements like this which is bad news for Chinese made apps.

TikTok Tries To Curry Favor With The US By Saying It Will Create 10K Jobs In The Country

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 22, 2020 by itnerd

There’s been a lot of talk about TikTok. Most notably that it is a security risk because of how aggressive the popular app is at collecting data off smartphones. That’s led to it being banned in India and has also led to discussions about it being banned in the US. Thus you cannot be shocked that TikTok is trying to fight back against this by saying that it will create jobs in the US, presumably to give the US government a big incentive not to lower the boom on it:

The announcement comes as the company faces mounting criticism over its handling of user data and its ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance. “These are good-paying jobs that will help us continue to build a fun and safe experience and protect our community’s privacy,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN on Tuesday. TikTok said it has already tripled its US workforce this year, and the new jobs will be based in California, Texas, Florida and New York — focusing on areas including sales, content moderation, engineering and customer support. The jobs announcement is part of a wider game of defense that TikTok has been playing to meet allegations by policymakers that TikTok poses a national security risk. The move also appears to follow a tried and true playbook for tech companies: when under fire, play up the job creation potential. Lawmakers including Sens. Chuck Schumer, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley worry the company’s user data could ultimately find its way to the Chinese government.

My take on this is simple. TikTok is a app that needs to be banned ASAP. This really shouldn’t be a discussion as it is clear that it slurps up data like a vacuum cleaner. The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) has warned that this is a risk for companies and companies like Wells Fargo have banned it from devices that their employees use for company business. And you can add the DNC and RNC to that list as well. This isn’t about being anti-Chinese as TikTok supporters have alleged. It’s about the fact that TikTok is a bad actor and have done nothing to alter that image. By that I mean by changing their data collection habits. Just look at this report on what it collects and how it does it and you’ll see it shouldn’t be within a million miles of your phone. Or any phone for that matter. And the fact that TikTok has offered up jobs in the US shouldn’t make any difference.

TikTok And Other Chinese Apps Could Be Banned In The US

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

The U.S. is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News:

His comments come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China and as scrutiny on TikTok and Chinese technology firms continues to grow. When asked in a Fox News interview if the U.S. should be looking at banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time,” he said. “Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security,” Pompeo added, citing the two Chinese teleommunications networking companies.

This comes after TikTok and other Chinese apps got banned in India. Not to mention that TikTok is a security nightmare. Now some of this is because of politics as well. After all, the current US government doesn’t like China. But plenty of teens and millennials like TikTok. Thus any ban would likely spark a reaction from those groups.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.