Trump’s stance regarding the ban on TikTok is one of the worst app censorship attempt

TikTok, the famous short-form video-sharing app is in the limelight these days. Especially now that the US government is after it and President Donald Trump has not only suggested imposing a ban on it, he has also given an ultimatum to ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell off TikTok to either Microsoft or any other American-based investor before 15th September 2020. If ByteDance fails to do so, then the US operations of ByteDance will stop immediately.

A while ago, in December 2019, ByteDance was alleged with a class-action lawsuit by the US. It was accused of collecting users’ data and invade their privacy by making them privy to be identified and their data getting misused.

However, there is a fun fact - The user data that TikTok collects is not something new, because other famous American apps do the same, and not only this, tech giants like Facebook have had to face huge scandals because of this issue. So, how can TikTok alone be accused so blatantly for something that its American competitors also do?

Now, with the current issue, Trump has been claiming that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, and the data that it collects from the users can become a cause of national security concern. And that is the reinforcing factor why it should be banned from the US at least.

Sadly, these are the same people who are usually least bothered about the data mining that the American apps are so famous for doing, and this also suggests that maybe Trump is using national security as a cover to apply app censorship policy on a foreign app! Maybe, it is some kind of political posturing rather than genuine care for TikTok’s users in the US.

App censorship is nothing new. Many countries block apps in the name of national security, or for techno-nationalism so that the users’ data remains inside and can be used by the companies of that country only, rather than going out and be misused in the other countries. Some countries block foreign apps due to economic reasons too.

So, online censorship is not a novel idea and has been going around since the early '90s. Different democratic and authoritarian governments have been filtering and blocking undesirable or harmful content over the internet.

Another fun fact is that in recent years, it is China that leads that pack of countries that block various apps, including Facebook and Twitter. And the USA always criticized China’s app censorship tactics and policies.

Now, if Trump is trying to do the same, it means that the US app censorship policy is not so different from what China does already! It also means that while Trump should have enforced better transparency policies from all the tech apps about their content moderation standards and their accountability towards their users, he is busy in using various ploy tactics to ban a foreign app. The US government should have created a new standard for privacy for foreign companies that work within the US borders rather than playing with words and ultimatums!

Read next: Trump’s remarks on getting a ‘cut’ from the sale of TikTok has infuriated the Chinese media as they call it an open robbery
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