The US president signed regulations on Thursday banning all transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the TikTok video network, and Tencent, the owner of the WeChat application, within forty-five days.
Social networks, again instruments of tension between China and the United States. Donald Trump increased the pressure again, on Thursday 6 August, on the popular social network TikTok, as well as on the Chinese platform WeChat, with radical decisions. The president signed an executive order banning all transactions “by persons under US jurisdiction” with ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, within 45 days.
The head of state provokes a “national emergency” about the use of light videos which he, without proof, accuses of spying on his American users in Beijing, in the context of trade and political tensions with China.
“TikTok automatically captures large pieces of information about its users […]”which potentially allows China to track government employees, collect personal files for extortion and engage in industrial espionage,” the decree justifies. China on Friday condemned “political manipulation and repression” by Washington, for its part, the social network, which claims ” shocked “by this decree, threatens to take legal action.
The president signed a similar decree against the WeChat platform, which belongs to the Chinese giant Tencent. On the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Tencent shares fell more than 6% after the announcement. The official document mentions the same complaint. The mobile applications owned by China “threaten US national security, foreign policy and the economy,” according to the president.
“TikTok represents a major security risk”
The statutes do not specify the practical consequences, but the ban on any transaction with the two companies could force Google and Apple to remove the two networks from their app stores and effectively prevent them from being used in the United States.
On Monday, Donald Trump accepted the possibility of an American group buying TikTok, but before September 15, under penalty of banning the platform. He also demanded that a “significant portion” of the price of the transaction be paid to the state, on the pretext that his government made the acquisition possible. A concept that has aroused strong criticism and some embarrassment among those around.
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The Microsoft IT group, which seems to accept the president’s terms, is in talks with ByteDance to negotiate a forced acquisition. But it did not become the Republican billionaire and his allies.
The US Senate unanimously passed a bill on Thursday banning the download and use of TikTok on all government-issued units to its employees or members of Congress. “TikTok represents a major security risk,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley, co-author of the text. This text must be approved by the representative of the Democratic majority in order for Donald Trump to publish it.
A “political manipulation” for China
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the United States wanted to ban US telephones, not only TikTok, but also other Chinese applications that are considered a risk to national security.
“[WeChat récupère aussi] data from Chinese visitors to the United States, “notes the executive order,” which allows the Chinese Communist Party to spy on Chinese citizens who can enjoy the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives. life. “China had already responded earlier this week by accusing Washington of ‘political manipulation’ and ‘intimidation,'” the State Department spokesman said.
ByteDance and TikTok, for their part, have been mobilized since the beginning of the Donald Trump ban. The international platform, which has one billion users, announced on Thursday the upcoming opening in Ireland of its first data center. in Europe for users on that continent. To date, all information has been stored in the United States and Singapore.
The American group, Microsoft, originally only wanted to buy TikTok’s operations in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but it now wants to acquire all the global operations in the application, from after the Financial Times.