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For months, US President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok, the hugely popular short-video app owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, on the grounds that Chinese ownership of the app posed a threat to national security.
American officials claim that TikTok allows the Chinese government to access user data, censor political topics and could be used to spread disinformation.
But TikTok, which still operates in the United States, turned the situation around this weekend when it confirmed he was removing some videos of Trump speaking because they violated the company’s disinformation policy.
Trump doesn’t have a personal TikTok account, but TikTok’s restrictions on the president stand in line with actions of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, all suspended Trump’s accounts on their platforms after the attack on Capitol Hill last week, which Trump incited.
In addition to removing videos of the president’s speeches, TikTok blocked certain hashtags related to the attack on the Capitol, such as #stopthesteal, a campaign to overturn the results of the US presidential election over false claims that Trump made won the competition – claims Trump repeatedly.
“Hateful behavior and violence have no place on TikTok. Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify or promote violence violate our community guidelines and will be removed, ”TikTok said in a report.
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TikTok is still alive in the United States despite the Trump administration’s months-long efforts to ban the platform or orchestrate the sale of its US operations to its Chinese parent company. The push began in August, when Trump sign an executive order restricting American operations of TikTok for reasons of national security. (TikTok has repeatedly denied claims by the US government that this is a security risk in the US, where it 100 million monthly active users.)
TikTok and TikTok content creators deposit various lawsuits against Trump’s executive order. In October and December, two federal judges ruled in separate cases against the administration ban, effectively preventing the government from executing it. On December 28, the Trump administration filed a charm against the December injunction.
In the meantime, ByteDance has responded to Trump’s order by starting to search for a US company that could buy TikTok US and avoid a ban on US operations from the app. In August, amid reports that Microsoft could buy TikTok, Trump called TikTok “a hot brand” and demanded a reduction in all sales of TikTok to the US Treasury. But Oracle and Walmart beat Microsoft to become the pioneer of buying TikTok. (Asset said this agreement had its “blessing”.)
The US Department of Commerce has repeatedly extended the deadline it set for ByteDance either to finalize the sale of TikTok’s US business or to face a US ban. December 4, most recent deadline past without fanfare; TikTok sales talks are still ongoing, the Commerce Department hasn’t set a new deadline, and the app still works fine in the US.
For now, US TikTok users continue to benefit from the platform, but those who want to watch some of Trump’s speeches will have to look elsewhere.
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