What exactly is going on with TikTok?
The wildly popular app is known for hosting short videos where teenagers, celebrities and creators often dance or lip-sync to viral audio clips. It all seems innocuous, fun and sometimes even silly.
But in recent days, President Trump has talked of banning TikTok from the United States, spooking the millions of people who make or watch TikTok videos for entertainment. Discussions of a ban have been coupled with reports that Microsoft or other companies may potentially buy the U.S. operations of the app.
So what gives? Here’s a primer on how the app became embroiled with the White House and on the deal talks.
What is the issue with TikTok?
It all starts with two factors. One is that TikTok is owned by a Chinese internet company, ByteDance. And the second is that China is increasingly in the sights of the Trump administration.
Officials in Washington have become increasingly concerned that the Chinese government could get access to information about Americans who use TikTok because of the app’s Chinese ownership. TikTok has repeatedly denied that it is influenced by Beijing.
In any case, the tensions have now boiled over. On Friday night, President Trump said he planned to ban the app, possibly through an executive order. Now, TikTok’s owner is said to be trying to address the administration’s concerns by pledging to sell the app’s U.S. operations.
Why is Mr. Trump concerned about TikTok?
Mr. Trump and other administration officials say that Chinese-owned companies pose a threat to national security because the Chinese government has the ability to access those companies’ systems