In recent times, the name of the American president and that of the well-known Chinese social network TikTok, popular all over the world, have gone hand in hand.
Well, that’s the way it is: US intelligence has been worried about the risk of excessive control in the United States by big Chinese tech companies and in fact Trump has banned TikTok – and now in the viewfinder there is also WeChat – by signing two executive decrees these days banning the short video app from operating in the United States if the Chinese parent company ByteDance does not sell the stake in TikTok operations in the US within forty-five days.
In practice, if an American group (for the record, the “ Financial Times ” indicates Microsoft at the forefront of the negotiation, with a pool of American and Japanese financial companies, aiming to buy all TikTok’s businesses, including those in India and Europe) will not purchase TikTok by September 15, it will be banned from the US, and US companies that have so far invested in it will be subject to penalties if they continue to do business in it beyond that date.
An executive order, that of Trump, which refers to the “International Emergency Economic Powers” of 1977 , which empowers the US administration to prevent companies and citizens from having financial transitions and trade with the sanctioned parties.
Before the signing of the decree, a bill supported by the Senate had already been unanimously approved (which must now be approved by the House of Representatives) that prohibits the installation and use of the app on the devices of all officials federal, including the armed forces.
This is the reason for the restrictive decree: TikTok is accused of threatening American national security , as it acquires vast amounts of information from its US users that could be used by China for corporate espionage, detect the location of US government employees and contractors, even create files for the purpose of blackmail.
TikTok, therefore, is, according to Trump and his Republican allies, a potential threat to US national security, foreign policy, and the economy.
Same with WeChat, owned by TenCent Holdings , whose shares, following the latest events, have already lost more than 4%. The instant messaging app, which in the United States has three million active users and is widely used by Chinese Americans for calls to China , has also been banned by the presidential decree, as according to Trump , like TikTok, automatically captures a large amount of information from its users and can give the Chinese Communist Party access to the personal data of its American users.
A “cleaning” plan, the one launched in the United States, which therefore aims to prevent Chinese companies of smartphone apps and cloud services from accessing sensitive information on American citizens and businesses through programs that are believed to pose risks to the national security. A plan that, in truth, looks very much like a political and commercial battle between the United States and China for hegemony on the global technology market and which many suspect is a well-designed maneuver to accelerate the sale of TikTok to Microsoft.
For its part, Beijing reacted by considering the orders signed by the American president as real acts of “manipulation and political repression”. The Chinese foreign ministry also estimates that these decisions will harm US companies and consumers.
Of the same notice ByteDance , which seems ready to take legal action against the United States and declares that it will use all means at its disposal to ensure that the company and its users receive treatment fair. According to the company, in fact, these are documents issued without a just provision, as it has not been given the opportunity to respond to the accusations raised, nor is there any basis for considering its actions as a threat to the United States security.