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Iran Press TV

Trump pressuring Chinese firm to divest TikTok

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 01 August 2020 3:35 PM

US President Donald Trump has announced a decision to ban a Chinese-owned popular video app, Tik Tok, once more escalating the existing tensions between the two countries.

"As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States," Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned from his Florida trip.

Trump said he would use his authority to ban the Chinese app popular among teens which specializes in publishing "fun and short" videos.

"I have that authority. It's going to be signed tomorrow," Trump insisted on Friday.

Reports indicate that the Trump administration was pressuring TikTok's mother company, ByteDance, forcing it to hand over Tik Tok's US operations to a US firm, namely, Microsoft company, which is owned by American billionaire Bill Gates.

In the meantime, US armed forces had already banned their employees from installing the highly popular Chinese app on government-issued phones citing security concerns for the ban.

Tik Tok responded to the latest news saying the platform had provided millions of Americans with "entertainment and connection" during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company denied accusations that the Chinese company shared users' information with Beijing.

"TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access. TikTok's biggest investors come from the US. We are committed to protecting our users' privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform," the spokesperson said.

Despite the vast rumors and speculations, the company said it was confident about the sustainability of its growth.

"[W]e are confident in the long-term success of TikTok," the firm announced in its statement.

The company's hiring of an American former Disney boss has been seen as an indication that the company was distancing itself from Beijing.

Kevin Mayer relocated American data storage to the United States.

TikTok, which was launched in 2017, was an instant success among young users, not only in the US and European countries, but also in other places.

In the past Chinese tech companies such Huawei and ZTE have been a source of concern for the West due to Beijing's access to these companies private data on its users.

However, Tik Tok has denied Beijing's access to the data of the company despite Chinese security laws demanding access to the company's database.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed earlier this year that Washington sought to ban the Chinese social media firms because of Beijing's supervision over them.

In related news, it was reported that "Tik Tokers" in the US, who are generally young and liberal/left, scuppered Trump's Tulsa rally in June after signing up to tickets they had no intention of using, intensifying his dislike for the company.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to exert maximum pressure on China on multiple fronts, both militarily and economical, in what has been described as a new Cold War.

China has repeatedly warned the US, and its western allies, that it will respond resolutely to any attempts against its national interests and security. So far, Beijing has imposed retaliatory sanctions to counter previous US bans slapped on the country.

The US and China have been at odds over a range of issues; but recently, Washington has taken a markedly more aggressive posture against Beijing. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for regime change in "Communist China."

Washington's aggressive posturing against Beijing comes shortly before the US presidential election in November.

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