It is no longer news that US president Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with TikTok in the country. What may now be considered news is a leaked document per Reuters stating how Trump’s executive order could cut off the China-owned app from the app stores. Furthermore, this could affect TikTok’s revenue as advertising on the platform could become illegal.
Citing a leaked White House document, Reuters reports that the US government is considering disrupting major aspects of the app’s operations and funding. This may not be unconnected with rising security and privacy fears over the safety of personal data being handled by TikTok.
“Prohibited transactions may include, for example, agreements to make the TikTok app available on app stores … purchasing advertising on TikTok, and accepting terms of service to download the TikTok app onto a user device,” the document states per Reuters.
Denying TikTok access to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store could have serious consequences on the revenue of the app. Aside from having crippling effects on its finances, cutting it off the app stores could hamper the growth of TikTok, which has been pretty impressive in the US and around the globe.
The truth, however, remains that the ban may not prevent US citizens living within the country from downloading TikTok from foreign websites. This of course, would slow down the growth, even though it provides a sort of alternative to the app stores.
The US fears that the app could be used by the Chinese government to steal data of citizens. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the committee on Foreign Investment in the US began a review of purchase in the fall of 2019.
Federal lawmakers in the US voted sometime in July to ban the use of TikTok from devices owned by federal employees. The ban came as part of a $741 billion defense policy bill. While TikTok has picked some breathtaking pace in the last couple of months in terms of popularity among teens in the US and other countries, the lawmakers are worried that personal information of US users could find their ways to the hands of government officials in Beijing.
The House voted 336-71 to pass the proposal, offered by Rep. Ken Buck as part of a package of bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The prohibition according to the report, is expected to extend to members of Congress and congressional staff.
Lawmakers had last October called for an investigation into whether ByteDance-owned TikTok can be used by the Chinese government to collect users’ data or control the content that is being shared. Some senators specifically emphasized on the potential for the app to be used in election meddling and to silence protesters in Hong Kong.