What would an American ban on the Chinese-owned TikTok app mean?

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US President Donald Trump has said he wants to take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.The threat comes as Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the Chinese app, owned by ByteDance Ltd., according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke only on condition of anonymity due to sensitivity to the negotiations. . Microsoft declined to comment.

It is not clear whether Trump would accept divestment as a concession.

But there have been reports that U.S. tech giants and financial firms are interested in buying or investing in TikTok as the Trump administration turns to the app.

Questions and answers on the issues:

What is TikTok?

ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017 before purchasing Musical.ly – a video service popular with teens in Canada, the United States, and Europe – and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.

TikTok’s fun, wacky videos and ease of use have made it hugely popular, and US tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat.

He said he has tens of millions of users in the United States and hundreds of millions around the world. But TikTok has also helped millions of people build careers and earn a living.

ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017 before purchasing Musical.ly – a video service popular with teens in Canada, the United States, and Europe – and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users. (Thomas Suen / Reuters)

What would the ban look like?

The app would be pulled from Apple’s and Google’s App Store and wouldn’t work unless it’s in use by a virtual private network, experts say.

What is the likelihood of the ban?

Experts believe that while the ban may seem legitimate, it is unlikely to succeed, given pressure from ByteDance to sell its stake and any control of TikTok to a U.S. company or completely separate itself, Ben Bajarin said of Creative Strategies, an industry analysis and market research company based in San Jose, California.

“I think a total split or an acquisition of an American tech company is the likely scenario here so that it can continue to operate,” he said.

TikTok’s fun, wacky videos and ease of use have made it hugely popular, and US tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat. (AFP via Getty Images)

What does a ban mean for the creators of TikTok?

Many are trying to move subscribers to other platforms like YouTube and Triller, an entertainment platform designed for creators. Some are trying to monetize through sites like Patreon, a crowdfunding platform for artists, musicians and other creators, said Amber Atherton, CEO of Zyper, a community marketing platform that connects brands to the 1% of their superfans.

Atherton said teens will continue to access TikTok through a virtual private network anyway in the same way teens access Instagram in China. But she said teens are devastated by a ban because TikTok is about ordinary people where users can check out product demos and other information.

The creators of TikTok are seen making a video in Paris on May 29. (Felipe Lopez / AFP via Getty Images)

What are the political consequences of a ban on TikTok?

Industry officials say any ban could invoke retaliation from China against U.S. companies.

“This could cause many companies to be wary of whimsical decisions by the US government, leading to instability and uncertainty,” said Sucharita Kodali, analyst at Forrester Research, an e-commerce research firm.

“Investors then choose to place capital in more stable and predictable environments. Something of this nature is relatively rare. Usually this happens when there are sanctions or other major political actions. “

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