Archive for TikTok

BREAKING: Judge Stops Trump From Banning TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 27, 2020 by itnerd

Earlier today I commented on the fact that TikTok was set to be banned unless there was yet another plot twist in this story. Well, we have another plot twist. A judge just stopped President Trump from banning TikTok on US app stores:

A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked President Trump’s TikTok ban, granting a temporary reprieve to the wildly popular video-sharing app.

During a telephone court hearing on Sunday, lawyers for TikTok argued that Trump’s clampdown infringed on free speech and due process rights. 

John Hall, an attorney for TikTok, argued that the app, with some 100 million American users, is a “modern day version of the town square” and shutting it down is akin to silencing speech.

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, responded by halting the ban, which was set to kick in at midnight Sunday.

Trump is likely to lose his mind on Twitter over this latest plot twist as he’s already having a bad day with his tax returns being found by The New York Times which shows him bleeding cash for years like a gunshot victim in Compton Ca. and avoid taxes like he avoided COVID-19. His response on Twitter along with how the US Government response is to this will be interesting to watch.

Judge Shoots Down TikTok Creators Request To Stop Trump’s Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 27, 2020 by itnerd

The Verge is reporting that a last minute attempt by three TikTok creators to stop President Trumps attempts to ban it as been rejected:

A judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a request from three TikTok content creators to temporarily block a ban on the app set to go into effect Sunday night, which would bar new downloads from Google and Apple’s app stores in the US. 

Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers said they “earn a livelihood from the content they post on TikTok,” saying the platform’s “For You” page is unique among social media platforms, because its algorithm allows “little-known creators to show their content to a large audience,” according to the court filing. 

Judge Wendy Beetlestone said that the ban would pose “undoubtedly an inconvenience,” but said in denying the request that the three had failed to prove they would suffer “immediate, irreparable harm” if new downloads are barred, since the app would remain operational for current subscribers —at least for the time being—if the ban takes effect. “They will still be able to create, publish, and share content for their millions of current followers,” the judge wrote in her opinion.

So it looks like at this point TikTok will be banned from being American app stores tonight. Barring some other plot twist that I don’t see coming. Which is entirely possible.

TikTok Files Lawsuit To Halt Download Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 23, 2020 by itnerd

You might recall that TikTok tried to file a lawsuit to stop President Trump from banning it. Well they voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. Presumably because Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle were trying to buy them. Ultimately they cut a deal with Oracle and Walmart. But that wasn’t enough to stop Trump from banning the app. So now TikTok is back in court to stop that from happening. Variety has the details:

As a deal deciding the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, the Chinese-owned video app is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the Trump administration’s order that would ban app stores from carrying TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 27.

TikTok alleges that Trump cited “national security” concerns as a pretext for trying to shut down the app in the absence of a deal to transfer ownership of TikTok to American buyers. The company, per its motion, claims the president was motivated “by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election.”

“There is simply no genuine emergency here that would justify the government’s precipitous actions,” TikTok said in the motion, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “And there is no plausible reason to insist the prohibitions be enforced immediately.”

We’ll have to see if this is as successful as the emergency injunction that WeChat got. If it is, it may be enough to send Trump running to Twitter to rant.

TikTok Cuts Deal With Walmart And Oracle…. Trump Green Lights The Deal

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2020 by itnerd

The latest plot twist in the TikTok vs Trump saga has TikTok announcing that the company has reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart that will keep the video sharing platform alive in the US. The deal has also been approved by President Donald Trump reports Bloomberg. The deal will effectively establish a new company called TikTok Global. Oracle and Walmart can together take up to a 20 percent stake in this company. TikTok Global will be headquartered in the United States and will bring 25,000 jobs to the country. And Oracle will be responsible for storing user data.

But before anyone stops traffic and holds a parade, this deal could still go off the rails as the Chinese government will likely still get some sort of say. Meaning that if they say no, then this situation is back to square one. There’s also the fact that Oracle is associated with Larry Ellison who is a Trump supporter and the current CEO of Oracle is also a Trump supporter. That has the smell of cronyism. Something that Trump said he was going to stop. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the coming days.

BREAKING: Trump Bans TikTok & WeChat Starting On Sunday

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

The Trump administration has dropped the hammer on Chinese owned apps WeChat and TikTok. Starting on Sunday they will no longer be allowed to be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the US. Numerous news outlets are reporting this but I will quote the New York Times:

The restrictions will ban the transferring of funds or processing of payments through WeChat within the United States as of Sunday. In the case of WeChat, the restrictions will also prevent any company from offering internet hosting, content delivery networks, internet transit or peering services to WeChat, or using the app’s code in other software or services in the United States.

Those same prohibitions on providing services go into effect on Nov. 12 for TikTok.

Expect China to react to this instantly to this as this is a swift kick in the nether regions for them. Not to mention for the 100 million or so Americans who use these apps.

This is going to get ugly in a hurry.

Oracle Is In Touching Distance Of Owning TikTok…. Maybe

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 17, 2020 by itnerd

Oracle and a range of investors appear to be close to taking ownership of TikTok’s U.S. operations. Of course this assumes that the deal gets approval from President Donald Trump. And The Chinese don’t stop it. Here’s what Bloomberg had to say:

The Treasury Department, TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. and Oracle Corp. have tentatively agreed to terms for Oracle’s bid for the U.S. operations of the social-media service, according to people familiar with the matter.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent Bytedance a revised terms sheet late Wednesday and the company and Oracle accepted it, the people said. They described the changes as addressing national security concerns about the transaction and asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

And:

Any deal needs to be approved by both Trump — who could still reject the transaction — and the Chinese government, where officials have accused the U.S. of “economic bullying.”

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is aware of the revised terms but hasn’t reviewed the latest details in depth and hasn’t weighed in on whether Trump should sign off on the deal, one person familiar with the matter said.

This should prove interesting. While this seems like we are near the end of this saga, we’re not. Trump might wake up one morning, see something on his Twitter feed that angers him, and nuke the deal. Or the Chinese may stop it. So watch this space as this story is sure to develop further.

Chinese State Media Explains How Oracle Is A “Technology Partner” For TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 14, 2020 by itnerd

Last night I posted a story on Oracle being chosen as a “technology partner” of TikTok after rejecting Microsoft’s bid to buy the social media company that is a target of US President Trump due to being Chinese owned. In that story, I said this:

Yeah, what the hell does that mean? If that means if Oracle won, it doesn’t sound like it bought TikTok. But I am guessing that the association with Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Trump factored into this. The world will be waiting for details on this to see if this is workable for the Chinese and Trump.

With tomorrow being the deadline for TikTok to be sold or be forced to shut down, assuming that a lawsuit prevents the latter from happening, Chinese State Media is now saying a sale to US interests isn’t going to happen. And it sheds light on Oracle being a “technology partner” of TikTok. Reuters has the details:

ByteDance will not sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to Oracle Corp or Microsoft Corp and will not give the source code for the video platform to any U.S. buyers, China’s state-run English television channel CGTN reported on Monday, citing sources.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters that ByteDance abandoned the sale of TikTok in the United States and decided to pursue a partnership with Oracle in hopes of avoiding a U.S. ban while appeasing the Chinese government.

Well good luck with that as I don’t see that stopping Trump who is down in the polls from banning the company. That’s because he needs a win and banning TikTok to show he’s tough on China would qualify as a “win”. I also don’t see it making the Chinese government happy as I can see a scenario where they push back on any association with a US company. Especially one run by Larry Ellison who is a friend of Trump. And one who’s current CEO is also a friend of Trump.

That will make tomorrow very interesting. I guess I will have something else to do besides covering the Apple Event tomorrow.

UPDATE: Bloomberg citing sources claims that the terms being discussed between ByteDance and Oracle were “still evolving,” but that one of the options being explored could see Oracle take a stake in a newly formed U.S. business while serving as TikTok’s U.S. technology partner and housing the video app’s data in Oracle’s cloud servers.

BREAKING: Microsoft Bid For TikTok Rejected

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 13, 2020 by itnerd

So with the 15th of September which is the date that TikTok has to be sold to a US entity or be banned, there is news filtering out from The New York Times that Microsoft’s bid for TikTok has been rejected:

The owner of the Chinese app TikTok rejected an offer on Sunday from Microsoft to take over the firm’s U.S. operations, according to Microsoft officials and other people involved in the negotiations, as time runs out on an executive order from President Trump threatening to ban the popular app unless its American operations are sold.

Microsoft was seen as the American technology company with the deepest pockets to buy TikTok’s U.S. operations from its parent company, ByteDance, and with the greatest ability to address national security concerns that led to Mr. Trump’s order. The move leaves Oracle — one of the few Silicon Valley firms to publicly ally with Mr. Trump — as the sole publicly known remaining bidder for TikTok.

That likely means that Walmart who had teamed up with Microsoft is out as well. So if Oracle is the only one left in the game, can they win? And will they be able dodge the possibility that China will shut this down before they have a chance to pop the champagne seeing as they have changed the rules to allow that to happen? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: There’s also this from the same article:

ByteDance has indicated that Oracle would be its “technology partner,” but it was unclear whether that meant it would also take a majority ownership stake of the app, according to people involved in the negotiations.

Yeah, what the hell does that mean? If that means Oracle won, it doesn’t sound like it bought TikTok. But I am guessing that the association with Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Trump factored into this. The world will be waiting for details on this to see if this is workable for the Chinese and Trump.

China Wants TikTok To Shut Down In The US Before They Sell Out To Microsoft, Microsoft/Walmart Or Oracle: Reuters

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 11, 2020 by itnerd

Three anonymous sources close to the TikTok presumably have told Reuters that the Chinese government wants TikTok to shut down in the US rather than be sold to Oracle, Microsoft, or Microsoft/Walmart:

Beijing opposes a forced sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations by its Chinese owner ByteDance, and would prefer to see the short video app shut down in the United States, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

But you have to wonder if this is an optics issue:

However, Chinese officials believe a forced sale would make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

There is one other thing, you have to wonder what, if anything that China has to hide that a sale would uncover. Now ByteDance who owns TikTok denies these reports. But seeing as the deadline is next Tuesday for TikTok to shut down or sell to a US company, we are truly in the endgame for this saga.

China Changes The Rules To Try And Block A Sale Of TikTok

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

The latest plot twist in the ongoing saga of Trump vs. TikTok is that the Chinese government has changed its rules on tech exports so that could outlaw the proposed TikTok sale to a US company. The Guardian has the details:

Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval – a process that can take up to 30 days. In mid-August, Trump gave the company 90 days to sell up or face a shutdown.

The rules, which hadn’t been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president.

Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm relies on domestic technology that might need to be transferred to a new overseas owner.

Well, that’s pretty crafty. And Professor Cui Fan, an expert on Chinese Trade had this to say:

Cui told news agency Xinhua China was not in favour of “decoupling” from the US, but “some forefront technologies, however, might impact national security and public welfare, and need to be included in catalogue management”.

Cui said ByteDance should “seriously and cautiously consider whether it is necessary to suspend the [TikTok sale negotiations]”.

Well, that’s likely to scare off potential buyers as well as inflame the situation. I would expect a response from Trump via his favorite medium to speak which is Twitter at any time as he’s likely not going to accept this.