As someone from the third world this leaves a very bad feeling if it happens. I do expect it runs into legal hurdles before that.
Neither Apple nor Google have found TikTok problematic enough to delist them from their app stores. Neither is there charges that TikTok may have broken US laws.
Banning something which hasn't broken US laws, on arbitrary grounds shouldn't be possible.
The President shouldn't have authority to ban anything at all let alone an app available through privately operated app stores.
Also dictating which apps an individual can install/not install shouldn't be the job of the Federal Government.
All indication is that the president does not have authority to execute an outright ban of the thing.
Also what alarms me the veil of secrecy on the procedings. The proceeding of the CFIUS should be made public in this regard.
At this point US is seemingly acting like a dictatorship with very less transparency.
Policies and decisions should be debated and argued before they are executed, not merely justified after the fact. That's what US and a few oher democracies have turned to doing in recent years.
Ultimately I feel that it is US who has been more to blame (contrary to much of Western media coverage) for the deteriorating US-China relationship, and drumming up the chorus for a new coldwar. Chinese policy seems to have not significantly changed in the last 5 years towards the US, but on the other hand US seemed ever more keen and eger to pursue a hostile attitude towards China.
With the pandemic and with genral economic malice affecting much of the world, I don't think a path of increasing hostility and conflict is what the world needs.
> Chinese policy seems to have not significantly changed in the last 5 years towards the US, but on the other hand US seemed ever more keen and eger to pursue a hostile attitude towards China.
For decades, China has blocked U.S. companies from fair competition, reneged on trade deals when it suits them, backed out of industrial partnerships after extracting the IP it deems useful, and generally been a bad trade partner.
I agree that the president shouldn't have authority to arbitrarily block a product or company (and ultimately he doesn't, he'll need broader support among elected officials), but it's absurd to suggest that the U.S. should blindly accept hostile behavior for decades on end without reacting, or else itself be labeled "hostile."
Look over the US bills for 2020. The only ones passing both Democrat House and Republican Senate are either coronavirus or China. The level of concern is so big that the Democrats basically did a rather public 180 on China during an important election year.
As far as the company, the President seems fully allowed to place restrictions on companies as foreign policy. If you're talking about the "American" part, it is owned by foreign entities, so the case still seems pretty good. Chinese spying on US citizens on US soil is definitely a foreign policy issue.
Obama's administration was known to walk up to companies with a rubber-stamped order to do whatever (usually spying on US citizens) and the place a gag order on the company so they couldn't even tell their users what was happening to them. If that was never challenged, I doubt this would be as preventing spying is certainly more moral than doing the spying.
The rationale in your comment is unconvincing to me. If Tiktok is breaking the law, that should come to light and be actioned like any other company breaking the law; likewise TOS violations on respective app stores. I haven't seen any reports to suggest that Tiktok is breaking U.S. law, have you? And if the rationale is, as you suggested, a retaliation against 'bad behavior for decades', what precedent would banning Tiktok set for other non-U.S. owned apps and services?
My comment wasn't specific to TikTok, but rather OP's assertion that the U.S. is a hostile actor, whereas China is just being China.
Regarding TikTok, foreign-owned companies must follow U.S. laws, which are subject to due process. Additionally, they must not pose an imminent threat to national security. For better or worse, the government tends to be tight-lipped about matters of national security and isn't compelled to divulge details to the public. Normally, this is acceptable because we trust our government to act responsibility and in our best interest. Is TikTok a legitimate threat to security? I don't know, and with Trump's tendency to make everything look like a publicity stunt, my trust in the government to use its power responsibly is not very high.
The US is not really better for those of us that are not US citizens though. Yes, in theory, US stands for freedom and democracy, but any protections are protections for US citizens, not for Australian or EU citizens.
So from a purely rights and spying perspective having the app be a US app vs a China app makes little difference to me (not that I'm young enough to be a TikTok user anyway).
As soon as you add 'national security' clauses and hide everything away, you don't really have due process any more. You have two paths. The public one, and the one where it's possible to assert (possibly falsely) that it's a matter of national security.
Apparently you are not aware of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, which requires that “Any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law.” Unlike American companies who receive requests from the U.S. government, ByteDance simply has no recourse when faced with orders from China’s authoritarian government.
An NSL often includes a prohibition against even telling a companies own counsel that the NSL was served and for many years the FBI didn’t tell people this was even possible to challenge (until a 2008 appellate court ruling). Even after that point, barely one in fifty thousand letters even get to the point of a court hearing. It’s de factor quite similar.
In addition, the legal challenge usually happens AFTER the letter is complied with, which makes it moot.
These letters can, and do, end up causing companies to fold (e.g. lavabit) if they refuse to comply.
Like many other national security issues (such as FISA court rubber stamps) there are theoretical checks and balances that do not tend to do much checking or balancing in practice.
That the company may eventually be allowed to tell us after they fact that they surrendered out data to the US government is not much of a comfort.
In any case, I'm not sure that any of the protections apply to foreigners (the criticism is all about how they might accidentally target Americans) so for those who are neither Chinese nor American citizens, it makes no difference. I would be happy to be completely wrong about this if you have information about how foreign citizens' rights are protected from US intelligence gathering.
The NSLs were merely meant as an example to show how US companies can also be compelled to assist in their government's intelligence gathering. You're right that they can (in theory?) challenge the secrecy part specifically.
> That the company may eventually be allowed to tell us after they fact that they surrendered out data to the US government is not much of a comfort.
Did you read my comment?
The request can be fought in court, and the request does not give them access to actual contents. For example, they can NOT get the contents of an email.
Are you not aware that Apple has beaten the FBI several times in court and did not have to unlock an iPhone?
> In any case, I'm not sure that any of the protections apply to foreigners
This has nothing to do with citizens or foreigners. This is about companies. US Companies do not need to comply with US Government requests for information, Chinese companies MUST comply with ALL government requests to ALL information.
I did read your comment, where you pointed out that companies can challenge the nondisclosure provision. It doesn't say anything about challenging the order itself.
Edit: Also, regarding companies/citizens/foreigners, this is the NSA program under which it collects data from American companies and promises to only use it to spy on foreigners: "PRISM is a code name for a program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from various U.S. internet companies ... U.S. government officials have ... defended the program, asserting that it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant"
>Are you not aware that Apple has beaten the FBI several times in court and did not have to unlock an iPhone
This is not quite what happened. In the most famous cases, the FBI wanted (effectively) for Apple to build them a back donor that they could use as they wished. Apple argued that while it was legal for the government to demand information with a warrant, it was not legal to force programmers to write code for the FBI under threat of legal action.
Moreover the case was dismissed after the FBI admitted they could already access the phone in question, having purchased an exploit for it from a vendor.
That additional specious condition on threat to national security is what is problematic.
1. Expert opinion seems to be that the perceived threats indicated in the case of TikTok are vague and over hyped, and there is no concrete evidence produced.
2.Federal Government may not have sufficient authority to promulgate such a ban, even on grounds of national security. May be possible to squeeze out the cash flow of the company through trade restrictions, may be able to mandate that this app cannot be used by federal employees while on duty, may be even possible to disallow their usage on federal government premises, but it cannot ask Apple and Google to take an app down from the app stores.
3. If that is the case then we are moving into a government-licencing regime in the US, effectively. That is, you can have your app distributed only if you have the necessary license/authorization from fed government which can be revoked at any moment. I don't think that is the right direction. So to have such special powers for ostensibly national security purposes is undesirable and detrimental to the very system that US is claiming to champion.
The whole episode is wrapped up in a frenzy of reactionary whipped up paranoia that is reaching an alarming cacophony considering the commentary here.
This is obviously a nuanced matter, and needs to be approached as such, not with a coldwar-era Hollywood Manichaeian dualism.
Cannot believe the president has the power without legal battle to ban business activity. If it's national security, let out the cat. Otherwise how could people believe if this won't happen to SAP, Volkswagon, Sony next time.
It's not clear that he actually has this power. He's known to misstate things.
Also, according to the Supreme Court, SAP, Volkswagen, and Sony are entitled to due process under our Constitution. Courts make a distinction between (1) public or privately-owned enterprises, (2) state-owned enterprises that function independently of the state, and (3) state-owned enterprises that function as the alter ego of the foreign state.
Companies in the first two categories are entitled to due process under the U.S. Constitution. When it comes to China, there is a blurry line between companies and the CCP, so it's not clear where they fall here.
There really is no guarantee these things won’t happen to those companies - just like how there is no guarantee that CCP won’t have HKers or Uighurs or Tibet. You just have to be mindful of the authority of nations and hope you don’t get unlucky.
This one of the better/saner things this administration has done, if anything, these should have been accelerated to avoid another USSR style Cold War with China.
There actually is a guarantee by the Supreme Court that SAP, Volkswagen, and Sony are entitled to due process, because they are independent entities that don't operate as extensions of a foreign government.
The same is might be true of ByteDance as well. It's not actually clear that Trump has the authority to ban TikTok. It could just be more bluster.
I haven't decided how I feel about the TikTok debate yet, but just to offer a better rationalization: foreign relations is the President's domain. Apps are one way that a country projects its soft power, and as such this might be applicable.
If TikTok was not a foreign-owned app, I don't think that Trump would have a leg to stand on, but because it is, I'm not entirely certain he doesn't.
I am reading a lot of comment that assumes Free Trading on the Internet. ( And to an extend that may be true )
I am guessing everyone working in the Software and Internet Industry are so used to Absolute Free Trading, where you could have someone using your SaaS from any parts of the world, with Discovery And Distribution Channel infrastructure in the whole world half sorted out. No one realise Importing and Exporting of real products and services have gazillions of restrictions.
US can stop the import and export of certain products or services from certain countries on any grounds, due to protection ideal ( These deals has always been in place ) Whether that is Food, Steel, Raw Materials or even Services. Using either Standards, Safety Policy, Tariff or other means necessary, or in other words, excuses. The same is true to EU, and especially China, who has been playing this game may be better than anyone.
That would be akin to US ( or in fact any countries ) working in China are required set up a Chinese JV. ( You can read up on what is happening to ARM China CEO ). So this is a policy change not a change of law. And even that is not entirely true, because under the current policy there are different rules to State Companies, and Chinese company can no longer prove they are not a state company. ( May be that is the part they break the law )
And in case someone ask why you have one specific set of policy for China? I would have answered would you expect to have the same policy for everyone including North Korea?
I view this as a trade issues, and China are no longer welcome to trade with US in many front, including its internet services. And in all fairness no one should be blaming US about it.
It makes it acceptable to defend yourself. If you want claim the president shouldn't have sole authority to ban foreign companies or products, that's fair. And I don't know that he actually has that power, it could all be bluster. I mean, he also said he would make Mexico pay for a border wall.
It seems there is a kind of "conceptualization mode" that different people operate in when evaluating a scenario. If you consider this situation as a binary rather than a spectrum, then the respective behaviours do seem the same. Similarly, the same thing can even happen when two people are both looking from a spectrum-based perspective, but have differing levels of detail (number of included variables) in their spectrum.
If something like this is indeed in play, then it's not surprising how two different people can come to diametrically opposed conclusions, yet both have extremely high certainty that their conclusion is objectively correct...because they are (or at least plausibly can be) both "right", from the specific perspective each person is operating in.
Not just broader support among elected officials, but it needs to be in line with the constitution too. Even with full on bi-partisan majority and popular support, unconstitutional measures cannot be executed by the Federal Government.
> Even with full on bi-partisan majority and popular support, unconstitutional measures cannot be executed by the Federal Government.
And the fact that the US Constitution only allows the Federal Government to regulate interstate commerce is why Wickard v. Filburn was decided for Filburn. Growing wheat to feed your own pigs is obviously not interstate commerce so the Feds can’t tell you what to do.
The Constitution applies to independent foreign enterprises and state-owned enterprises that aren't under direct control of the state.
The Constitution does not apply if a foreign government "exerts sufficient control over [the enterprise] to make it an agent of the State." I don't know if it can be argued that ByteDance falls in this category, but there have been many allegations that the company works closely with the CCP to provide surveillance and disseminate propaganda on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
For all of the issues with Trump, he was right to point out the plight of post-manufacturing working class Americans, the rise of North Korea as a nuclear power, and problems with the US-China relationship.
He just handled all these issues poorly. He really only helped the rust belt by getting a handful of token factories to not close. Nothing really came of his meeting with Kim, and tensions have even escalated slightly. On the China front, he started a trade war with China and worked on some technology bans (both questionably helpful), and at the same time withdrew from the TPP, started trade disputes with strong allies, and weakened NATO. Coordinated response and strong western alliances would have been far more effective, but he did neither.
While I agree with you a little, we have to admit the failure of american and "developed" nations industries isn't just due to generosity from their parts towards China.
China competed, made the sacrifices necessary to get it running at low cost and acceptable quality, and not us. Our factory workers can't compete at that price, can't bear the same struggle and can't do it on the scale of the chinese workers. We like to picture them as powerless ants in a crushing machine, but it's not so black and white for sure.
Get the factories back and you lose competitiveness and it's higher level Chinese service companies who will start designing products and replacing americans. It's a trap, and it's already showing signs it's working. I love my Huawei phone and it got me used not to have a google account. Something I could not imagine a year ago.
The problem here isn't TikTok being banned. I couldn't care less about TikTok. The problem here is singling out an individual entity for punishment outside an established framework of laws just because we don't like it. You can be tough on China without becoming China.
Nobody is suggesting that China's trade policy go unchallenged. What I do want is a policy including evidence, recourse, and the possibility of compliance. I have seen no explanation whatsoever of why TikTok is so urgently terrible that we can't deal with whatever it is that the company is doing using rules --- and this strange silence is coming from people ordinarily keen on that old "government of laws, not men" principle. Everything is weird these days.
> The problem here isn't TikTok being banned. I couldn't care less about TikTok. The problem here is singling out an individual entity for punishment outside an established framework of laws just because we don't like it. You can be tough on China without becoming China.
Even without talking about morality or Chinese laws, TikTok could just be banned as trade retaliation. It's very common outside of tech, if a country closes down their market, they generally face retaliation on their foreign markets.
But yes I do agree with you on that, it should be done using an official retaliation policy, not just tweeted by the US president...
Trade retaliation is generally executed on commodities that are already unfairly subsidized by the opposing nation. I'm thinking of disputes over tires, steel, pork, beef, corn. Banning a service company that seems to have done nothing wrong as a means of tit-for-tat retaliation is different.
1. Sanctioning bad actors: Placing wide ranging economic sanctions on bad actors is a potent tool but it can backfire. U.S can penalize any company that does business with sanctioned individuals. In the case of China, applying sanctions on party members would make it virtually impossible for them to transfer their wealth overseas via global banks, property markets, investment vehicles, etc. This ratchets up the pressure on the Chinese government as it immediately and adversely affects the interests of China’s powerful elite. The downside of this approach is that China is likely to retaliate against U.S. economic interests within China. It’s a large market coveted by many U.S. companies, so there is likely to be political blowback, which makes this unlikely to happen.
2. Diplomatic pressure to isolate China: China cares deeply about how it’s perceived on the world stage. We rarely hear strong international condemnation of China’s social, political or economic policies. This is partly due to the China’s success in using their economic power to strengthen their global standing. Much has been written about China’s debt diplomacy, for example. China now plays an outsized role in organizations like the WHO and various UN bodies. It’s even a member of the UN human rights council. The U.S. on the other hand has been withdrawing from these bodies, effectively ceding the stage to China. The U.S could apply pressure on China by once again assuming its leadership position within these bodies, and working with allies to counter Chinese influence and condemn China’s internal and external policies. China has no effective response to this tactic and it’s therefore one that they are particularly concerned about IMO.
3. Stronger military and economic alliances with Taiwan, India, Japan and Australia would create a counter balance to rising Chinese dominance in the region.
4. The U.S can also take steps to prevent knowledge transfer to China by limiting foreign student intake, or preventing research collaboration with Chinese universities.
these dont have any standard precedent for application in terms of tech and tech related fields , where geographic boundaries do not apply. china has had a free ride now i guess it has to pay , also the same could be said about china banning free speech and tech companies from other countries , i guess you will have no problem with that.
China can do whatever it wants, US can do whatever it wants. Whatever a country wants to do has nothing to do with how it governed, law or not. Law is a set of communally mutually agreed upon rules, so a society can function. However, the key is the word "communal", as in - which community is agreeing upon this law. China can complain that the new laws in the US is illegitimate, but the laws are made by Americans for Americans. Of course the law is not going to extend outside US, for example, they do not dictate what some Canadian company operating in Canada can do. But, in the US, these laws are there for Americans, for American soil, under the territory that the US government formally rules over. Of course, the US makes these rules, because it is its sovereign right to do so. China has no authority over how or why this law is made. Just like the US has no authority to say how Chinese government creates laws.
But then again, China likes to say “Do not interfere in our internal matters”; the US can say the same thing.
> America is under no obligation to help its rivals develop.
Right. As long as we acknowledge that this is what's going on, so the rest of the world can feel free to just laugh at the US the next time they claim some grandiose moral high ground in their petty squabble to keep their rival down.
It's not just the US at risk here. I feel like nobody here pays attention to what China does. Look at all the tensions between China and... Literally nearly every country around them. This isn't a US-only problem.
The ongoing deterrence hole when it comes to US-China relations in variety of domains has been acknowledged by China watchers consistently in the past 10 years.
The issue is whether current admins' China-hawks tough on China approach is smart and good for long-term US interests or merely counterproductive electioneering / domestic distraction which is... characteristic of behavior when it comes to managing other foreign relations so far. Nvm US has been quietly undermining China with Asia pivot for 10 years - many people are consumed by Trump/Pompeo and previously Bolton/Banning grievance politics because publicly clapping back feels good. Same ppl have no problem recognizing US foreign policy everywhere has been catastrophic for US interests in the last 4 years, but go full smooth brain cheering leading mode because it's China. Like holy shit, it's Pompeo. Folks can pretend/hope broken clock is right twice a day or realize people with bad history of foreign policy is maybe just bad at foreign policy. These are individuals who have no problem shaping America into the enemy it wants to fight.
Not that it justifies our behavior, but I can’t help but cringe a bit when considering how China locks American companies out of its market but expects better access for Chinese companies in the American market. America-Chinese relations started
going downhill in 2009 when China thought it prudent to start blocking most Americans services, America just took a decade to follow up with similar bad behavior.
Agreed completely. The degree of pressure that China applies outside of software is also very unsettling. The latest episode with the NBA allowing players to promote social causes on their uniforms for example...unless you’re supporting Hong Kong or Taiwan. It’s appalling.
Really this move seems nothing related at all to US companies not having sufficient access to China. If then why this 10 year gap from action to reaction. Many here seems to take this particular view of this move being a retaliation of some sort, but I feel that is a naive view of what US is doing here and how it will be perceived around the world.
Put in specific data protection/privacy laws and regulations applicable to all players, not hound a single company without being able to prove any wrong doing in their part, or offering them a fair, due process.. it seems all arbitrary, discriminatory.. wrong in principle.. yet seems to cheered on by some, merely because it gives a semblance of going one up over a perceived adversary.
Retaliation or not, it is essentially arbitrary act, insufficiently justified in an open society.
International politics being driven with the ethos of a school playground.
Politics moves slowly. 10 years is barely more than 1 presidency.
China bans Facebook despite the company offering to comply with censorship/propaganda rules (and Zuckerberg even offering Xi to name his child). The ban is unambiguously due to strategic concerns over a foreign company having access to user data. The change in US policy towards Chinese apps is not retaliation, it's just the US coming to the same conclusion as China that letting rivals foreign powers control media companies is unwise.
> The ban is unambiguously due to strategic concerns over a foreign company having access to user data
So Europe/India/everyone else should ban US apps? It becomes a slippery slope.
> the US coming to the same conclusion as China that letting rivals foreign powers control media companies is unwise.
If you’re worried about a foreign company manipulating media then put in laws and regulations. That way American companies can be hold accountable to the same standards by other countries as non-American companies and creating a level playing field.
If Europe is concerned that the US is a threat to its collective security they might want to start with getting rid of all our military bases and alliances before worrying about comparatively trivial matters like apps.
> So Europe/India/everyone else should ban US apps? It becomes a slippery slope.
Are Europe and India concerned by a US company controls popular social media companies? Evidently not enough to ban them, and if in the future if they are then that's their prerogative.
> If you’re worried about a foreign company manipulating media then put in laws and regulations.
They did: The US put laws in place that allows the executive to block commerce when it is deemed a strategic threat. And now those laws are being exercised against a media company controlled by a geopolitical rival.
I don't think FB agree to comply the China's Internet data law.
There were negotiation and Zuck showed the flexibility of a seasoned political acting genius (I am sure he will regret this segment in his life eventually). But there were never fully public conformation that FB intends to bend over the law in China.
Please provide a link.
If GB indeed plan to comply the law, then I can assure anyone that Zuck intends to use it's business empire to advance his political ambition. That probably would be worse than Hitler's ascension...
China can do whatever it wants, US can do whatever it wants. Whatever a country wants to do has nothing to do with how it governed, law or not. Law is a set of communally mutually agreed upon rules, so a society can function. However, the key is the word "communal", as in - which community is agreeing upon this law. China can complain that the new laws in the US is illegitimate, but the laws are made by Americans for Americans. Of course the law is not going to extend outside US, for example, they do not dictate what some Canadian company operating in Canada can do. But, in the US, these laws are there for Americans, for American soil, under the territory that the US government formally rules over. Of course, the US makes these rules, because it is its sovereign right to do so. China has no authority over how or why this law is made. Just like the US has no authority to say how Chinese government creates laws.
But then again, China likes to say “Do not interfere in our internal matters”; the US can say the same thing.
I am not American by the way, so have no beef in this.
So hey, I am all popcorns on this at the moment. The next few years are going to be interesting.
Us corps have access to Chinese market. Otherwise they wouldn't have been so courteous to Chinese pressure and sentiment. For example, Apple draw > 10% from mainland China.
There is a common misconception that corps like Google Facebook were banned without legitimate reason. The truth is that China has outrageous internet law that Google Facebook would violate their meal standard in order to operate inside China. Google claims Chinese government hacked their corporation data centers.
How else would you negotiate with a bully like China? America is a bully too, but without Uighur concentration camps, fleets of fishing vessels farming the sea to extinction, outrageous claims over the South China Sea, etc.
You can only turn a blind eye so long to a competitor’s unreasonable actions (in this scope, IP/trade secrets and the like). As a US citizen, I endorse any actions intended to remove or subdue CCP influence, power, and control (domestically or internationally).
None of this comment should be construed as a sleight against the Chinese people in aggregate.
> America is a bully too, but without Uighur concentration camps, fleets of fishing vessels farming the sea to extinction, outrageous claims over the South China Sea, etc.
but with Guantanamo Bay detention camp, bombming Iraq with fabricated evidence and killing hundreds of thousands innocent Iraqi people.
Oh, let's not forget how Uncle Sam extended their territory by slaughtering Native Americans since 15th century. You even have a festival to celeberate the genocide and conquest of Native Americans by colonists.
It's not related to anything China has done over the past years. It's the fact that TikTok users embarrassed Trump, so sympathetic conservatives are looking for any and every Trump-free reason to support the president unilaterally banning something. Mind you, these are the same people that scream about "free speech" when YouTube or Twitter deplatforms Nazis and other right-wing white supremacists.
Trump's top advisor on China is a complete nutjob who knows nothing about China: Peter Navarro, author of "Death by China."
Navarro doesn't speak Chinese, and before he joined the Trump administration, he had hardly even been to China. In recent months, he's been promoting anti-Chinese conspiracy theories about CoVID-19. He's an ideologue who believes that the US is in a death struggle with China.
So if you're wondering why US policy has changed, looking at who's in office is a start. The scary thing is how successful the Trump administration has been in promoting its views on China among the public.
China's actions are actually legal under 1. WTO rules which allow developing nations to have some sort of protectionism to foster their own industries, and 2. Their own laws, which companies can choose to abide by.
Google and Facebook were never wholesale banned by China. You can see this with the fact that Google tried to re-enter China with project Dragonfly (a China-law compliant search engine), until it internally became politically unfeasible. Note that Microsoft operates Bing in China, and Yahoo as well.
Google trying to re enter China has no bearing on whether or not they were banned or are banned.
And actually, I was living in China when Facebook stopped working, and I was living in China when google.com stopped working, and when google.cn stopped working. And you are right, they were never officially banned, China would never admit to that, they just used the GFW to make them stop working and commenced a lot of work to make VPNs troublesome to use as well.
Yes, Microsoft operates Bing. But you can’t access gmail through it.
Again, China doesn’t officially ban Facebook or google, they won’t tell them what laws they aren’t following and anyways, China doesn’t really do rule of law. Google can’t go to a judge and say, ”hey, I want to prove I’m doing things right, see this Chinese constitution guarantees freedom of speech!” Nope, China doesn’t work like that, officials make opaque arbitrary decisions on what to allow or not.
Why are you purposely being unfaithful in your argument here? I can easily search up multiple cases where foreign companies have applied the rule of law and won in China. The rules are clear to Google and they simply chose not to follow it. They tried to follow to follow the rules with Project Dragonfly until their own employees scuttled the project, but that’s on Google.
The existence of Bing proves that it’s possible to operate a foreign search engine in China.
Lmao, your posts read like they are straight out of r/sino. You stick out like a sore thumb and need to do better if your trying to influence minds here.
"I can easily search up multiple cases where foreign companies have applied the rule of law and won in China."
I'd love it if you did this. I sincerely hope these references are better than the ones you produced trying to deny the Uighur genocide in Xinjiang in the other thread. Also, you'll need to provide me some proof these companies didn't pay for the results they got.
At what point is China no longer considered a developing country? I think the argument is since they're now at least the second largest economy in the world, they no longer deserve all the special protections.
On a per capita basis, China is still very much a developing / middle income country. I agree that special amendments should be made because a country of 50,000 people with Chinas gdp per capita faces a very different economic situation than China, though.
Because we believe in the free market and they believe in a controlled market?
I mean, are you suggesting we also move the planned economy model because China is right? It’s not like we adopted a free market model for the benefit of foreign interests... it’s simply a better model (in our belief) for creating a healthy economy.
Just randomly thinking out loud: Is it possible to stop privately owned markets without the state having more control? I suppose the concern is with large private corporations, as opposed to smaller to medium sized businesses. I think that's what a lot of Democrats want to do, but I often associate them with bigger government. I know very little about politics though.
Sure, by enacting strict laws that forbid individual competitors from exceeding some amount of market share or forming conglomerates. Corporate breakups are self-executing. No compliance bureaucracy required, just investigators and lawyers. The government doesn't acquire the power to pick winners and losers, they indifferently breakup any player who gets big enough to distort the market or centralize too much power.
Of course it is. Private property in general is only possible because of enforcement by the state. Relaxing IP laws and other measures that limit the power of the state to enforce negative liberty would fit the bill.
They also offer the US access to cheap workforce, which is kept unbeatably cheap via the action of the chinese state. I thought it was a tit-for-tat relationship.
The argument is also used a-la-carte: It's decades since the first time google pulled out of china, yet there was no relatiation then. And it does not apply to other countries which are often blocking google/facebook/youtube like russia or turkey?
Which companies are locked out? Last I looked China is packed full of American companies, far moreso than the other way around. Apple, Walmart, Nike, Coke(61% marketshare), P&G, KFC, McDonald's, GE, GM, Boeing (50% marketshare), MS (99% marketshare) all make billions each year on the mainland, many make more there than in the US.
It's frankly quite disturbing how something so completely wrong constantly ends up the top of HN comments on these tiktok threads lately. 2 of the top 3 comments say this and it's not true whatsoever. It's just plain jingoism.
Since you've raised the issue can I as an Australian, sell my lamb to US consumers unhindered? We have a free trade agreement, take a guess about our market access in certain farming sectors? Even with shipping I can sell for far better prices than domestic farmers so your government sets up tariffs and sanctions to stop that happening. Ask some South American corn farmers about their market access too while this topic is hot :)
The US is so blatantly hypocritical and that's the real "cringe" here. The ultra-nationalist sentiment in this place is laughable.
Tiktok was a risk and I don't really have much of a problem with the choices made but the online justifications are unreal to listen to.
I find it difficult to recall the last time America took the moral high ground that wasn't based solely in looking good for anti-communist purposes in the last 75 years. The only exceptions were when domestic unrest forced the ruling class to give protestors civil rights.
In particular, US foreign policy has been a long unending horror show of bombing, invasions, and starvation via sanctions. At the UN our record is dismal at best, with the US often standing entirely alone with regressive countries we've bought off like Saudia Arabia on a litany of issues.
I started my comment out with “ Not that it justifies our behavior” and referred to similar actions by both China and America as bad behavior. Bad doesn’t justify bad, and only provides a measure of irony.
> China locks American companies out of its market
This is something that is often claimed, but it doesn't reflect reality.
China does not generally lock American companies out of its market. In fact, American companies have a far greater presence in the Chinese market than vice versa.
For example, take a look at the 2017 China sales figures for a few American companies: 
* Apple: $44.7 billion
* Intel: $14.8 billion
* Qualcomm: $14.6 billion
* Boeing: $11.9 billion
* Micron: $10.4 billion
If you walk into any mall in China, you'll see American brands everywhere. Starbucks, KFC, McDonald's, tons of fashion brands, and on and on. The basic fact underlying all of this is that for decades, foreign direct investment flowed essentially in one direction: from the US to China. That reflected the fact that the US had capital, while China had labor. It's only recently that Chinese companies have begun expanding abroad, and FDI has started to go in the opposite direction.
This is apples and oranges. You listed hard good sales - imports (even if actually manufactured in China in the case of Apple).
IIRC, Foreign companies need to have majority-owner Chinese partner entities to "own" business operations in China. So a non-Chinese car company that wants to have ownership over it's Chinese assembly line operations and sales in China needs to partner with a Chinese company (typically another automaker) that actually owns >50% of the joint subsidiary that actually makes and or sells the cars. The alternative is Apple, which owns no manufacturing and had everything produced on contract from independent manufacturers. And again, none of this involves user data. Also, both the play store and Apple iOS store's content are at the mercy of the CCP gatekeepers, so even if a person in China can buy an apple product, they experience a different app ecosystem.
I don't think there's a non-Chinese-owned company that has access to and stores user data streams, like a foreign-owned weibo or something, but I'd be curious if someone had an example.
> This is apples and oranges. You listed hard good sales - imports (even if actually manufactured in China in the case of Apple).
How much do you think China makes on an iPhone? Most of the pricey parts are imported into China and just because the assembly happens in China doesn’t truth make it “made” in China.
Even if you take lower margin brands like KFC, the US interests essentially rent-seek on that brand usage.
You have to also understand that China is the economic underdog. In order to rise out of poverty they have to have some form of protectionist policies (which are not unique to China, as Japan also has heavy protectionist policies despite an already strong economy) or they’d be trampled by established foreign multinational giants.
One country is a well to-do suburban college educated kid and the other is a poor high school dropout from the inner city. Their competition in the market would not be “fair” as their starting points would be unequal.
That being said protectionist policies aren’t all good. They are a tradeoff that they chose to make and why they ended up with defective domestically produced infant baby formula, crappier internet search engines (which lead to wechat dominance), etc, whole local companies played slow catch up.
> IIRC, Foreign companies need to have majority-owner Chinese partner entities to "own" business operations in China.
You recall incorrectly. You're describing the situation about 30 years ago, in the early stages of China's opening up. In the intervening time, restrictions have been dropped from most sectors (including the automotive sector - Tesla's Shanghai factory is a demonstration of this).
The Chinese market is open both to direct investment (FDI, which I mentioned above), and to imports of foreign goods. American companies have much greater penetration into the Chinese market than vice versa. It's blindingly obvious if you've been in both countries.
China may be open to goods (ignoring the capricious enforcement of customs laws). But even politically benign services (banking, finance, insurance) cannot easily be "exported" to China. It's obviously protectionism.
There are a lot of foreign-owned companies long before Tesla. In my home town Changzhou there was a famous US company called METTLER TOLEDO which exists since 1992. I lived there 20+ years ago. I had a lot of friends worked for the company. All the town knew it was a wholly owned(独资）US company. Here's the only source I can find but in Chinese.
It mentioned 独资。There are other companies had Chinese partners called 合资 which means joined-adventure. They are different but 独资 exist as opposed to MSM claimed.
Now I know you don't believe it. There are many people know the other side of story but they have been eventually down-voted out of HN to tell the truth. This one seems not quite offense to many HNer's beliefs so I'd like to provide some information.
China has been sequentially reducing JV restrictions on different sectors. The last restrictions on car manufacturing have been phased out over the last three years. As I said, Tesla is an example of this.
It's silly to complain that the American market was open to Chinese investment, while the Chinese market used to have JV requirements. China had no capital to invest. Investment flowed entirely in one direction. It didn't matter to China that the US was theoretically open for direct investment. US companies made huge profits by investing in China, but not vice versa. Around 2014-15, Chinese investment abroad began to pick up, but the Trump administration has essentially closed the US market to Chinese investment, and Chinese FDI in the US has gone basically to zero.
Complaining about how the poor old US is getting exploited by China - with its former JV requirements - is completely out of touch with reality. American companies made enormous profits off of investment in China.
As China has developed, it has removed JV restrictions from most sectors of the economy. Whether some level of protectionism is good for developing economies is a debated topic, but the WTO allows greater leeway to developing countries. Developed countries would obviously benefit more if every developing country removed all conditions on foreign investment, but developing countries would probably suffer.
I worked for a company that provides web and app tracking (kinda like google analytics, but more granular data and user metrics). Any Chinese prospect that engaged with us had to use a myriad of proxies because the Chinese govt blocked our American servers. Also no Chinese prospect ever paid a dime. They would beg for extended trials and bring engineers in to ask questions about the software, requesting server side code, all the while they attempted rip off our product, after a year I became ‘too engaged’ with other projects to pursue opportunities with Chinese companies.
McDonald's decided to sell most of its stake in 2017. It wasn't forced to. After the sale, McDonald's China was 52% Chinese-owned, and 48% American-owned. The latest news is that the Chinese group is trying to divest itself from McDonald's.
Starbucks entered the Chinese market in 1999, when there were still JV requirements in its sector. Those requirements have been removed, and Starbucks bought out its Chinese JV partner in 2017.
As much as I agree and being from a "third world" country myself, I can still remember China banning Facebook and Google in 2009/2010. Everyone has had to bend over backwards to gain access to the Chinese market while giving them free reign to the rest of the world.
No they didn't, both Facebook and Google decided to quit themselves. Remember Dragonfly? Google just tried to get back into China THIS YEAR and was blocked by the US government. It's the US that's closing access to China not the other way around.
Wrong, Facebook was blocked in China following the July 2009 Ürümqi riots because Facebook refused to release information about Xinjiang independence activists.
In March 2009, China blocked access to Google's YouTube due to footage showing Chinese security forces beating Tibetans. Access to other Google online services was denied to users arbitrarily.
The search engine remained operational under the condition that the government could filter the search results. In January 2010, Google announced that, in response to a Chinese-originated hacking attack on them and other US tech companies, they were no longer willing to censor searches in China and would pull out of the country completely.
Also, the government didn't "block" Dragonfly. Google terminated the project after its own employees protested it and politicians criticized it.
(All the above from Wikipedia either as direct quotes or paraphrased for brevity.)
> Ultimately I feel that it is US who has been more to blame (contrary to much of Western media coverage) for the deteriorating US-China relationship, and drumming up the chorus for a new coldwar. Chinese policy seems to have not significantly changed in the last 5 years towards the US, but on the other hand US seemed ever more keen and eger to pursue a hostile attitude towards China.
In what universe? The Chinese global stance has changed drastically over the past 5 years, and they have continued to deteriorate western companies and forced companies to appease their government, or the CCP will ban those companies, steal their IP and clone then. So far not a single soul has stood up to them, for fear of losing out. They've expanded their power in the South China Sea, laying claim to land and passages that aren't theirs at all and never have been. They fund North Korea as a satellite state to antagonize its neighbors, and turn in people that escape back to NK so they can be put in slave camps. The new security law gives them reach beyond their own borders to crack down on people that criticize the CCP. Not to mention they have literal concentration camps where they are harvesting organs, hair, using them as slave labor and stealing their possessions. Ask other Asian countries how they feel about China's slow and steady encroachment of their authoritarian regime that is anti-freedom.
The U.S. doesn't have purely free market economy; it's regulated to prevent abuse from bad actors and it enters into trade deals to advance its strategic interests. This is true of all countries.
I have mixed feelings about TikTok, but the claim that the U.S. can't protect itself from a hostile trade partner or a security threat because it "believes in a free market economy" is utterly baseless.
As a believer in more free than planned market economies, I don't think it's necessary for the US to stick its fingers in places to ensure things fail, just as I don't believe it was necessary to sabotage the USSR to ensure their inevitable failure. I believe our system is superior to what China has, and frankly if we meddle with it it de-legitimizes our claims to our superior system.
We do in fact have a more free market economy, and we definitely do not do retaliatory trade policies to other countries with unequal trade imbalances like we are doing to China. In fact, in a free market, which is the default, there is no such thing as a trade imbalance. We buy cheap labor from China, but they are paying the price on the higher margin parts (IP, technology, brands). They buy the silicon that merely gets assembled in China, they make the iPhone for maybe $100-$150 in labor, and then pay Apple the remainder just to ship the item back to itself (that's why luxury goods are heavily taxed in China). If you ask me China's getting the crappy end of the deal. The reason why we've been getting push back is because the lower-skilled workers in America are in fact losing out, but the information and technology jobs have been gaining against China. But frankly, cheap Chinese workers are just a temporary stop gap to automation (if you didn't lose your job to cheap foreign labor, you'd be losing it to a cheap domestic robot).
The US being a free market and China tightly controlling it's markets is precisely what's unfair. Think if it like a tariff. When a country establishes a tariff, most other countries set up their own tariffs in response. This is fundamentally the same thing. China banning Facebook, Twitter, et al. is effectively a tariff on US tech companies. Now the US is setting up its own tariffs in response.
It wasn't fair to begin with. Countries by default have tariffs (EU, Japan). Crying unfair is just playing to the capitalists that want access to a disadvantaged market with little to no developed competition. If you've been to China you know how developmentally challenged they were, and with over a billion people developing a strong local economy will inevitably play into the "unfair" trade policy accusations.
The US chooses to open its markets up to foreign players, and generally does not demand reciprocal market access for it unless there's a political motive, which, in this case with China there is (the US wants to curb the rise of a competing world power).
China has its fingers deep in the pie of every tech company there, especially the ones with even minimal foreign ownership. It might not be planned in the quaint sense of the old Communist 5 year plans, but it’s certainly a modern iteration of the concept.
This. I am from a mediocre country and had always admired how Americans defended freedom (specially freedom of speech and right to bear arms). But now they seem not to care anymore. Just throw all our freedoms out the window because China is spying on us.
Even in this forum, the general sentiment is that it should just be banned.
American withdrawal from the global stage. It does not start with Trump but Clinton. After Cold War, little by little American is retreating from the world stage and letting go of its "leader" position. Trump just speed up this process.
You can see it in WHO. Every president before Trump have neglect it. It will be an interesting time when American completely exit the world stage.
Clinton established the WTO and signed NAFTA. He also saber rattled against China during the taiwan straits crisis, bombed plenty of foreign countries, went to war over Kosovo in violation of the UN charter, and various other actions. I don’t really see how that’s “withdrawal from the global stage”
TikTok is not a national security problem, no more than Whatsapp or Telegram or Skype is a national security problem.
The last time I asked folks here to explain to me why they think its a national security problem, I got a list of arguments that were just a little bit less plausible then those for the existence of Santa Claus.
Just because Trump says something (while providing no proof) does not make it true.
A straight forward argument that comes to my mind is TikTok being used in the manner Cambridge Analytica used Facebook. Except in this case, it is being done by a State sponsored entity with vast resources (monetarily and people-wise). Further, instead of it being used to help a candidate become elected, it's purpose would be to influence foreign opinions of China/the PRC.
My wife is on TikTok for at least an hour a night if not more - I've never once seen or heard anything pro-china or anything that would otherwise influence her opinion about China. Not once. It's all content from US social media whores.
Content doesn’t need to be overtly “pro China” to influence individuals towards goals ultimately desirable by the PRC. Information operations can have a variety of goals are a designed to be unnoticeable, unless otherwise intended to be visible (e.g., making it apparent to GRU cyber actors that we had access to their systems during the mid-term elections).
Her "data" is mostly liking cute dog videos. China can have that data for all I care. Meta data about my network, devices? If China really wants to know that I'm on Spectrum internet, and have a few other devices connected, sure, go ahead. I monitor my network and haven't seen any suspicious traffic that would worry me.
I think you are missing the point. There are many many goals that support the PRC’s strategic goals/interests other than persuading people to be pro-China. If you ever get a chance, look up some of the publicly available US military doctrine on information operations and what the possible uses of it are.
> TikTok is not a national security problem, no more than Whatsapp or Telegram or Skype is a national security problem.
Yes, TikTok is potentially a national security problem. Sending a lot of citizens' personal info to an opposing super power is a national security problem. This is especially true when we are in disputes on many fronts like Taiwan, Hong Kong, islands in South China Sea
Telegram, maybe, but the founder makes it clear that he escaped from Russia, and Russia wants to imprison him(?).
Whatsapp and Skype are US companies, so they send info to US. There's not much security risk here. Their founders are US citizen or in a country that is aligned with US.
> Just because Trump says something (while providing no proof) does not make it true.
There's never proof in any geopolitical issue/scandal. At best, you have expert hearsay. Maybe CIA's opinion from wikileaks.
If we had to wait for proof for any geopolitical issue, US would probably already collapse for being incompetent long ago.
Now are you trying to say TikTok will never ever send personal info to Chinese government (if China requests)? I hope you're not. We know this isn't true.
Saying US and China having no tension against each other is just very strange; The tension is blatantly obvious for decades. I'm not sure if you aren't truly aware or you just pretend you don't know.
I guess I'm even more cynical. I don't think it's an accident that Zuck is playing much more friendly to Trump than people may have expected. This would be the perfect quid pro quo. I hate to think it could be happening like that, and it sits purely in conspiracy theory land. However it is completely consistent with the level of corruption from the administration in other areas and amoral approach by Facebook to its business.
Well, Tiktok has taken all the younger crowd away from Facebook and Instagram. Your suggestion is not beyond the realms of possibility for a guy like Zuck (I always think back to the dumb f comment he made a few years ago to remind myself of how he views his users).
“A few years ago” was 17 years ago, for reference, when he was a 19 year old college student.
Facebook is working on Reels to compete with TikTok, but I’m sure Zuck would be happy if Trump takes out the competition for him.
There may not be an explicit quid-pro-quo but he’s obviously trying to navigate the political situation to avoid either Democrats or Republicans taking real steps to harm his company, since both are demanding Facebook start altering what users see to promote their political causes.
> Chinese policy seems to have not significantly changed in the last 5 years towards the US
Chinese policy "towards the US" may be too narrow a view.
Within the past 5 years, Xi Jinping has eliminated the scheduled 10-year leadership transition which served to alternate power between various elite factions in China. This has put him in a position to maintain leadership for life. After Xi achieved this, China has seen numerous significant domestic and foreign policy shifts.
As China has become more of a near-peer global power with the US, Chinese domestic politics have become more relevant to everyone.
I blame China having over 1,000,000 of it's citizens in concentration "re-education" camps for the deteriorating relationship. What kind of leadership allows that type of behavior? Not a competent one. It's shameful that this is being allowed to happen. I support measures to limit the propaganda being spread by China's government.
National security issues override your freedom to use a spying app by a country's primary geopolitical opponent. That's just how it is. You paint China as this innocent party and the US as the sole aggressor, which is utter hogwash. I'm not sure whether you're intentionally or just ignorantly ignoring all the things China has done and continues to do in the past 20 years such as stealing IP, price dumping, etc. They're not the good guy here and anybody outside China should be wary of them.
My belief is absent some specific illegal behavior, he can't really 'suspend' an app or a company. He can say he will, he can make it difficult for them, but it's probably going to be stopped by a court.
There is another possibility: The U.S. government (or Trump) has dirt already on TikTok which might explain why their pressure did work. It's up to speculation why they chose to go this route instead of imploding the whole thing. A possible explanation is preserve Tiktok jobs/app in the U.S. but it became U.S. run and controlled.
Maybe. It’s not like the Chinese aren’t rationale actors either. The US does something and China is no doubt brainstorming what they could do, without hurting themselves or jeopardizing their long term economic plan.
Could retaliation include kicking out Tesla? Sure. Would they? Who knows.
I'm old enough to remember how in 2017 people were un-ironically talking about putting Zuck in jail because Russia allegedly ("allegedly" because it was never proven this was state sponsored) spent $100K to organize some pro- and anti-Trump protests on Facebook, and Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica do essentially the same data harvesting as Obama's campaign in 2012.
But a Chinese communist party controlled media company with tens of millions of subscribers in the US which was _caught spying_ by both Apple _and_ Google is totally fine.
Is election interference and spying done by China good somehow? I don't get what you're arguing here.
For a litmus test, consider whether you'd hypothetically be fine with a massive social network operating on US soil that's run by e.g. USSR, Taliban, ISIS, or North Korea, ahead of what many think is one of the most consequential elections in our lifetimes.
I think what OP is arguing is fairly straightforward: if TikTok violated actual laws, take them to court, if they didn't, leave them alone. Is the USA supposed to be country that respects the rule of law, or a banana republic directed by the whims of some supreme leader?
The wheels of justice turn too slowly for election interference, which a state controlled company like ByteDance is almost certain to perpetrate. There's even plausible deniability - you could blame it on "algorithms".
> The wheels of justice turn too slowly for election interference
The logical solution would to start spinning the wheels faster, not take authoritarian action.
Of course, the FEC right now doesn’t even have a quorum and has only had one for about a month in the last year, due to negligence by the President and Congress. It’s obvious the politicians aren’t that concerned about the “wheels of justice” when it comes to election ethics.
“ Donald Trump nominated James E. Trainor III on September 14, 2017. After he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2020, the commission's quorum was briefly restored, and one meeting was held online, due to the coronavirus pandemic, on June 18, 2020. A week later, however, Caroline Hunter resigned, with the result that the FEC once again lacked a quorum.”
I think it's just treating China to their own bad behavior in order for them to "shape up". If they want access to Western markets they need to provide similar openness. There's no obligation to treat China fairly if they do not treat the rest of the world with fairness.
I think you underestimate the popularity and potential of TikTok and ByteDance at large.
It's like Facebook, maybe around 2010-2012, with enormous upward potential - they might even dethrone Facebook and their offerings in the coming years. For the core Facebook app, I wouldnt be surprised if they did that already in a couple of countries.
Of course TikTok won’t be growing at the same rate in 10 years time. That doesn’t mean it won’t still be a huge platform, however.
In fact, I’d wager that, it TikTok plays their cards right, the platform could be bigger than YouTube within five years or so. I know it sounds crazy now, but there is nothing that dictates that YouTube’s model is the best for delivering democratized video publishing to the masses.
I find that a lot of these Gen Z kids don’t have the patience to sit thru a five or 10 minute YouTube video (and I can’t really blame them; how much time have you wasted watching YouTube videos that ended up being clickbait garbage?). They’d rather have the information condensed down into a 90 second video, and TikTok is perfectly designed to serve those viewing habits.
I know the popular perception of TikTok (from those that don’t use it) is that it just hosts trendy dance videos, but TikTok creators are publishing essentially all the same genres of content we see on YouTube. You can find everything from dance videos to home improvement tutorials on the service. Furthermore, more and more YouTube creators are moving over to TikTok. I view the service as the single biggest threat we’ve seen to YouTube since it’s rise to popularity.
I suspect TikToks next big move will be into YouTube’s bread and butter: official music videos. Their user interaction model lends itself extremely well into music discovery.
Also, most fundamentally, there’s only 24 hours in a day. Every hour spent on TikTok is one hour not spent on YouTube or a competing service.
2. Regular people that just post random things for fun. These people are essentially using it as instagram for video
3. People making relatively high quality content involving specific subject matter (vlogs, food, technology, sports, etc...). Essentially recreating YouTube channels on TikTok.
The service has historically been dominated by category 1 and 2, but we’re seeing more and more of category 3 now.
And keep in mind that I’m not saying YouTube will disappear - not in the least. There is space for both services to exist. However, TikTok will be capturing an increasing share of the creators that previously had no choice but to be on YouTube.
Usually they are forced to youtube for the advertising dollars. On twitter or instagram influencers can make
a sizable amounts with sponsored posts. Does tiktok have an ad program for content creators? Are tiktok users becoming paid influencers? Do people post sponsored tiktok videos?
Yeah once they figure out the monetization part, the ecosystem would be complete. They've been working on that. I don't think it is as efficient yet. But you can also look at Chinese version of tiktok, where they have already a full ecosystem and lots of people making lots of money off the platform.
Importantly its because kids don't want to be a part of the "old" culture. They actively reject entering places with an older established demographic because they want to define their own spaces.
Tiktok by its nature cannot maintain the momentum it has with kids 14-18 now with the kids that are currently 8-12. They will reject it no matter what Tiktok does because thats how kids are conditioned in the west to behave.
Online companies, like brick and mortar companies, rise and fall. And even if Facebook's best days are behind it, I'm not sure we can call a business that grew for nearly 15 years and is now used by billions of people a "fad." Regardless, it generated unfathomable wealth for its founders, and made thousands of employees financially set for life.
If TikTok could capture that, it doesn't matter if it lasts five years or ten years, the people at the top will become very, very rich.
So I think both commenters above are correct: it has huge potential upside that investors are willing to gamble on, and it probably won't become the next Facebook so it might be worth it for the current owners to cash out now.
That's what I heard about plenty of social platforms like this. Everyone thought Vine was here to stay too. Everyone thought Myspace was here to stay. Snapchat was huge at one point and now I no longer know anybody who still uses it. Maybe it will be like Facebook, but there's a big chance it won't. It's huge now, but its still relatively niche appeal in the grand scheme of tings. These things appear to be fickle. We will see.
Just because you don't know anyone that uses Snapchat doesn't make that an authoritative source on popularity of a company. Snap's user base has grown consistently and show's no signs of slowing down, even against increase competition in the space (https://www.statista.com/statistics/545967/snapchat-app-dau/). TikTok is the "Vine replacement" since Vine was bought by Twitter and shutdown. Vine wasn't a "fad" that faded away, it was actively shutdown by its parent company, likely would still exist to this day in a non-insignificant way had that not happen.
They are fickle sort of like a Hurricane. Feels like over the last 20 year we have learnt how to scale things up quick i.e. spin up a hurricane.
What the hurricane does after its created or whether its controllable at all no one really knows. Making room for the type of characters who will claim they can control hurricanes. Expect these people to show up and disappear as these hurricanes spin up and fizzle out.
That said, I just hope figuring out whether hurricanes can be controlled doesn't take too many more years, and happens without too many more unpredictable side effects.
Speaking about Facebook the website (separate from Instagram and WhatsApp), I'd give it 50/50 odds that a major decline in market position will start by 2030. If it doesn't happen, it will be attributed to very strategic leadership.
I've heard the argument a few times YouTube actually loses money, besides just being a money sink. Does anyone have anything from Google talking about margins or profit/loss of youtube? I've never been able to find anything concrete on the issue. This is the best I've ever been able to find 
It exposes the level of mental illness in America and around the world.
You have teens threatening to kill themselves if it gets banned. What will all these girls do if they can't get some attention and a dopamine hit every few hours. Woman are taking to Tik Tok and posting farewells crying and dancing. Some are even threatening the President.
The app is poison but perhaps it's no worse than Insta, Twatter and FB and all social media.
How many lives this shit ruins everyday, little by little is unimaginable. People living in the digital world instead of the real one.
Please don’t bring this kind of holier than thou preaching to this forum. Just because you’re not the target audience doesn’t mean you can call the users as being “mentally ill”. ALL humans crave dopamine hits (what brought you to this forum?).
Dance and music is how a certain demographic of humanity lives to express themselves, and there is an app that lets them do so. What the hell is your problem? Who are you to take it away from them?
The President does not have the power to ban an Internet service. He may order executive agencies to investigate the company and take action based on what they find. There is no (non emergency) statute that allows the President to unilaterally shut down the service.
Parents of kids do have the authority to curtail their children’s online presence. This is not limited to TikTok, it is a common theme across all social media properties.
What Egypt does should not affect what technologies are permitted in the US. China bans Google and Facebook. Should we ban it too? This line of reasoning makes no sense.
I am only here for information/educational reasons, not entertainment. This is more about educating my mind.
>Dance and music is how a certain demographic of humanity lives to express themselves, and there is an app that lets them do so. What the hell is your problem? Who are you to take it away from them?
Maybe you haven't seen all the videos of young ladies threatening to kill themselves if the President goes through with it. Or the 1000's of people who have come to name calling and threats against the President.
I don't find that normal and I have a problem with it.
> Or the 1000's of people who have come to name calling and threats against the President.
Interesting that you would have an issue with “name calling” and “making threats” when that is all that the current POTUS does on Twitter. That is also a person who has real power, so the threats are not idle. By your own measure, Twitter should be banned before tiktok.
Maybe Hacker News is next on Trumps ban list. Would you be happy about that?
Also, I would think carefully how productive your time spend here really is. Is surfing and commenting on HN providing any substantial "education"?
Personally i find it an entertaining way to waste some time, that does now and then enlighten me on a topic I didn't know about before, and have cause to want to learn more. But any real knowledge gained is through effort outside of HN.
The problem is with this specific demographic is they will grow out of TikTok and eventually stop using it due to fatigue or strange reasons like their parents joining in.*
This happened with Snap, Vine, YikYak, etc. They will just move on to the next social network craze that doesn't have their parents, grandparents or their next door neighbours friending you. Rinse and repeat.
* The exception to this rule is unless your parents is a Kardashian / West, Musk, or an Obama or some other famous celebrity.
Would you be surprised if it just disappears in a year or two, like Vine, Orkut, Myspace, and other "giants" of their day did? I personally wouldn't because these things just come and go. I think it's really hard to make the claim that "it's here to stay".
Snapchat is a very different use-case. Snapchat was built on being a sort of anti-social-media. It's all about ephemeral content, and not making it easy for content to be shared widely. TikTok has a lot more going for it in terms of intrinsic properties built around bringing more users into the platform. Snapchat is about having a more low-pressure online presence, TikTok is a "look at me" platform.
TikTok is a lot more analogous to Instagram: where Instagram used filters to allow normal people to create much more appealing photos, TikTok's music licensing allows average users to create videos with a much stronger emotional appeal than they can get on other platforms.
I've tried Snapchat, never felt the same thing I'm getting with TikTok. TikTok is not being hyped to me, I genuinely get a good laugh out of it everytime I open it. Never had that with Snap or really any other social network. This is huge.
I am very torn on this. On one hand, these types of apps do come and go quickly. On the other, everyone I've met that spends time on TikTok thoroughly enjoys the content far more than they ever have on any other app...it's almost a bit bizarre. My fiancee will be in tears laughing for hours some nights and it's unlike anything I've ever seen. My family never shared vines or youtube videos but now our group chat is completely full of TikTok links. I think people are underestimating how much people seriously love TikTok of all ages, races, classes etc.
That’s your personal experience. But I can guarantee that if you rewind a few years you’d be able to find many people who would say that Snapchat gave them the kind of experience Instagram never did, or whatever. Snapchat was huge. TikTok is huge. But there’s no guarantee of permenance.
Snap never got to the level of TikTok and it was always really niche but mostly, it required IRL friends to send awkward Snaps too. TikTok doesn't have this limitation and is the lowest friction to entertainment social media ever. Of course, nothing is forever, even Facebook, but as far a these things go, TikTok was in for the long shot.
The thing is, people really mistake the Wild West days of a market with the mature days. People were saying the same thing about Windows, for example, back in the 1990s. Stuff like:
"Back in the day we had Commodore and Amiga and many other platforms that slowly died, Windows will go their way. Unix will outlast it and kill it off."
30 years later and you could base a Fortune 500 company off of Windows, alone.
Same story with Facebook. People are comparing things to the pre-Facebook days without realizing that social media is a lot more mature now. They're presenting Snapchat as a failure when it's still growing (in users and revenue), Orkut as an example of a rise and fall when it was only popular in Brazil, while Tik Tok is global.
Tik Tok seems to have carved a niche in a pretty mature market. That's hard to do.
This isn't laughing, it's desperation. Either they get bought now or they lose everything. India already banned them and they're terrified of a repeat.
I think over time social networks have found more stable userbases. Facebook isn't going anywhere, neither are Instagram or (unless the feds intervene) TikTok. It's not like it was in the early days where everyone abandoned the old platform, because the new one was so much better.
You are likely underestimating the staying power of ByteDance. They have a portfolio of successful apps within China, such as Toutiao, and have probably overtaken Baidu to be the 3rd most important software company in China (after Alibaba and Tencent). Unlike Vine or Snap, they have a lot of e-commerce revenue and are a major sales platform.
Should they be allowed to continue expanding internationally, something like a Facebook or Amazon peer would be the more relevant comparison.
On one hand I want to agree with you, on the other hand I recognize that you are probably the same age or older as me and we are old goofs that probably don't understand what constitute something that is going to work for the generations after ours.
US is doing with China what China did with them. American VCs and business men used to criticize and mock Chinese government for it. Since US is following the footsteps of China, I wonder whether Chinese will be doing what US VCs did?
I don't think this will make China more open, because even banning Huawei did not make China reflect on its open policy. IMO, Huawei is more close to Chinese government compred to Bytedance, and I saw much less comments from top officer or state-owned medias about this acquisition compraed to that about Huawei.
It's not 'US market forces' that will open China, and it never was.
It was the opportunity to expand into global economic markets, with a certain perspective in mind, ballpark along the lines of Western Liberal Democracy and Economy.
The Asian countries that followed this path after WW2 were enormously succesfull: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan.
They are basically beacons of prosperity surrounded by economic mayhem.
China chose 'it's own path' - which is fine - and there are probably many advantages to the central planning early on (those other nations did that, Korea was an authoritarian state and then opened eventually, kind of 'part of a plan') - but of course the CCP has another agenda, they don't want to cede power, and China has a different historical view of itself which is not just a function of CCP propaganda.
I think it is literally at this very point wherein the 'advantage' of autocracy is starting to be a disadvantage, and that a degree of opening up would actually beneficial.
Basically - once you get the 'easy investments' done - like roads, bridges, and you succesfull rip off everyone else's IP and are 'to some extent caught up' - then the plan starts to falter. At some point, you have to 'lead' - and it takes a different kind of approach. At least in many areas, though we should not underestimate them.
There are no obvious economic choices for China now and their 'old plan' won't work. Putting Uyghers in jail, grabbing S. China sea, getting into pissing matches with India and Japan - none of this will bear fruits.
The 'Belt and Road' is actually one 'grand strategy' that a central power like China could have that America could never have (takes a couple decades of consistent vision) - but it seems that the heavy handedness and deep corruption of the system won't allow for it.
Geopolitically, people 'love to hate on America' in the press and in propaganda, but when 'push comes to shove' there is nobody who doesn't understand what side they would rather be on, both pragmatically and for the sake of the good of everyone.
Though Trump is a dufous and blow-hard (sorry), he is actually the only Western leader with the 'crazy like a fox' to take on China, and he's absolutely right to ban TikTok and other entities.
Basically - the West needs to apply trade rules with China that are exactly tit for tat: China doesn't allow foreign competition in certain areas - then we ban that. They don't allow ownership, then we ban that. They have a lot of controls over content, then we do as well - we ban everything remotely related to the Chinese state. They require foreign companies to fork over IP, and then give it to local champions - then we do as well.
Imagine how the world would react if the US required Huawei to give up all it's IP, held it up in bureaucracy for years, while they gave the IP to Cisco, and then the Treasury and the Fed financed Cisco and their international customers, while the US diplomatic corps acted both as a sales team for Cisco, and did economic espionage to thwart competitors outright?
That would be 'fair'.
There is a Canadian company  that lost a contract to the Canadian government for airport scanners - the Chinese bid was 25% lower. The complaint was that the Canadian company would never be allowed to bid on such a sensitive contract in China, moreover, there were state subsidies. How on earth is this fair or free trade? It's not. If China won't allow external bidders for airport security tools - we don't allow them either.
It's really almost a paradox to understand why even China has been able to maintain such a lop-sided advantage.
It started 30 years ago, when China was so poor that the West basically accepted the asymmetrical terms of trade. Like a frog in cool water that's getting warmer never thinks to jump out - Western entities have not been able to 'get it together' to change the terms. China has been acting very aggressively against anyone who speaks out, and of course, we have the useful idiots in the West who will proclaim that any antagonism towards China must be 'racism' etc..
It's just only right now starting to cross a tipping point wherein you see bits of world leaders actually starting to push back collectiely. Merkel or Trudeau might say one small thing, then they see the reaction, then others will say something else.
COVID and the China coverup has presented basically a catalyst for this, wherein it has been fully legit to publicly criticise China because they did act poorly and it cost ostensibly a lot of lives.
Though the Dems actually have not really been against Trump's China aggression, they may not be likely to spearhead it. They are just far to 'systematically naive'. Even if many Dems individually realise what needs to be done - they do not, organisationally, have the political will. Biden might say a few things here and there, but the momentum is unlikely to continue. It takes a certain kind of 'political courage' and consistently so - with a lot of people on board to re-articulate the relationship with China - I'm wary that Biden & his team will be able to do it. Their economic team I feel just won't have enough true hardball players and I don't mean 'jerks for the sake of being jerks' - I mean 'realpolitik' players who can apply the hard rules necessary with China, that would otherwise seem out of place in a modern world.
Have a quick glance at the difference between Obama/Trump trade advisors Froman  and Navarro . Night and Day. (FYI I'm not saying I support either, just highlighting the difference)
Some really good points here. I suspect the downvotes are due to the “China coverup” part where people are assuming you are talking about conspiracy theories related to the Wuhan lab, rather than the more general initial coverup where the CCP decided to arrest doctors for telling people about the virus.
The US isn't a monolith. Shareholder certainly benefited from lower manufacturing costs, but people employed in dying industries suffered enormously. Maybe in a hypothetical world where the profits were shared equitably, that would have been a good deal for the US as a whole. Seems to me like a case of moral hazard - investors are making decisions that affect the long-term health of the country without bearing any of the consequences themselves.
I also like the grandparent post, but I'll take a crack at presenting an opposing side. The idea of a lopsided trading relationship, with the US being the losers, and China the winners, seems a bit dubious to me. Chinese companies work because they have cheap labour, a lot of talent, and massive economies of scale. Blaming the demise of US industry on China is absurd - US industry started declining in the 80's, because neo-liberal economics basically amounts to industrial sabotage on the policy level. Every country that went hard neoliberal has very little industry today, while the few that didn't (Germany, France, Japan) still have very competitive industry.
The idea of unfair trade is also a bit of a mercantilist trope, so I'm not sure it makes sense on its own terms - but at the very least, it's normally something that requires an unequal relationship between trading partners. Like, I think it would be fair to say that trade deals between first and third world nations are often unfair, because there are ample opportunities for one party to lean on the other. This obviously isn't so between the US and China. If there are conditions that favour Chinese companies, it's because of policies that were, at the time, thought to benefit the US - and which probably do benefit the US, at least insofar as GDP growth is concerned (the US has remained pretty good in this arena).
Trump's whole schtick of 'bring back coal' comes to mind here. Obviously, you could hammer out a trade agreement that would end up with coal mines reopening in Wyoming, with steelworks in Pittsburgh - but would it actually help the US?
As for the whole question of whether or not China is 'playing dirty', or muscling their way through established norms, I think it's obviously not the case - or at least, it's by no means the case that China plays more dirty than anybody else - least of all the US.
I think the politics of China do deserve a great deal of scrutiny, and if there's something that the west should be putting pressure on them for, it's the slide into totalitarianism we've witnessed over the last few years. However, all the stuff about trade seems two parts grandstanding and one part hypocrisy.
I'll answer the question in a more standard way, and disagree with your points along the way.
'Fair Trade' does not have to be 'Trade on Equal Terms'.
That is how the relationship started: China was 'very poor' and so the asymmetrical trade rules made sense. Pepsi and Coke and a few others had access to China market, people 'looked the other way' at the IP issues.
But in 2020, China is in a different situation, and the asymmetrical rules are basically 'not fair'.
"The idea of unfair trade is also a bit of a mercantilist trope,"
This is false.
If one nation is allowed to sell into the other, but does not allow the other to sell to it - this is 'unfair trade'. Blatantly.
If one nation uses state subsidies to support fledgling industries, so that they can dump on foreign markets and 'take over the global industry' - this is obviously unfair trade. China did this with Solar Panel market - subsidising their industry to flood America with cheap products, putting everyone out of business etc.. This is not a 'new' idea, these concepts have been well understood for hundreds of years.
"Blaming the demise of US industry on China is absurd "
Nobody is 'blaming' US economic issues on the US. What I'm articulating is that China is effectively 'cheating' (or rather, has an obvious upper hand) and it needs to be rectified.
"As for the whole question of whether or not China is 'playing dirty', or muscling their way through established norms, I think it's obviously not the case - or at least, it's by no means the case that China plays more dirty than anybody else - least of all the US."
This is again false. We can call it 'dirty' or not - but China plays 'extremely protectionalist' first off, second, they have state intervention, which is not suitable for trade.
There are a million and one things that the US cannot do in China, but that China can do in the US. This is blatantly lop-sided. The US should apply the same rules to China as China does to the US.
Second, and more nuanced, is the state intervention. Again, the example:
Imagine if the US forced Huawei to give designs and IP over to Cisco, and the US Pres had direct authority over major banks, ordered JP Morgan to finance Cisco buyers in Brasil, Germany etc. - and for liquidity, ordered the US Federal Reserve to print money for that purpose. It sounds incredibly bizarre, right? Well that's what China does today!
So it's fine for them to play the game they want to play, but the West needs to respond in kind.
This has little to do with 'bringing back coal mines' obviously. But it may have something to do with bringing back manufacturing - in a highly automated way.
"about trade seems two parts grandstanding and one part hypocrisy."
No it's not, generally speaking the US is pretty good on these things, and has fostered a lot of very important international agreements and ideas along these lines as well. Of course, trade really does benefit the US a lot, so it's to a great extent self interest, but still.
The world needs to trade with China on somewhat different terms.
You cited various Asian countries, but literally every one of those countries paved the same path as China. Authoritarianism with protectionism (as allowed by the rules of WTO developing nations), followed by economic prosperity and democratization.
Do you think this art of the deal stuff is really working out even between America and its allies? It's giving them second thoughts on depending on America for trade and even defense. It won't work with China either.
Where have you heard the US government is blocking the app? The gigantic security issues have been because the US government doesn't block apps like this.
It can forbid government workers from using it on government-provided devices. This is sensible due to the capabilities for arbitrary code execution and the full permissions to the device the app requires of the user. Amazon has done that with their employees as well. But the US government doesn't have a Great Firewall. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't ban or block it.
Edit: Apologies. I mistook the unlikelihood of anything like this being effective as reason enough for no one (let alone the President) to make statements like this. I stand corrected.
It was a huge story yesterday that Trump has said he’s going to ban it.
And while it’s not clear exactly how they’d ban it, it certainly isn’t impossible. They could tell major telcos to block IP ranges. Or tell Apple and Google to pull the app. Everyone involved could just say no to the government but it’s not all that clear that they would.
Considering the government strong armed Google into not interacting with Huawei, and considering many other governments have done IP bans / app store removal pressure, I find it a bit funny that the original reply was saying "who said the government will block TikTok?", as if that wasn't news directly from the President's mouth
I don't think the US is necessarily doing it permanently. Likely this is a short term geopolitical tactic to get China to play a little fairer on the field. It was always weird how this double standard existed where China would block Western companies but demand free access to Western markets. This is just tit for tat. Also, I don't think this is a "Trump" thing (although he has accelerated the process), relations between the US and China were already on the decline starting with Obama's first term.
I don't think it will be successful, I think China has made it very clear they will continue to play the US time and time again until they are dominant. The CCP will accept nothing but that. But that's the thinking behind the current moves.
Chinese company makes huge viral app for the US market, and lets everyone stoke rumors that it's a spying platform. US gov't tosses a huge subsidy at whatever domestic company can acquire it at any cost - in the interest of national defense - resulting in massive overvalued purchase. China pockets the profits. Rinse, repeat.
Potentially but their negotiating position is shutting down completely which would be a loss for a potential acquiring company. I'm sure that TT stole some users from YT, IG, and Tumblr but largely creators are posting everywhere so their existence just increases the size of the pie.
I wonder if anyone know that TikTok is currently actively blocking access from Chinese users. Even with a US Apple ID, even with a VPN/Shadowsocks service, you cannot sign up TikTok as long as your phone is using a Chinese SIM card. I have to use an iPad.
What you have is something the internet has never seen: unlike Google having to censor its content within China, you now have a allegedly independent US company actively censoring the Chinese people on a social network that identifies itself as non-political, on US (or Free World) soil.
This is a type of censorship that's far worse than anything Google or Yahoo or Microsoft ever had to do. Imagine more and more Chinese-owned companies doing this world wide. This is just absolutely ugly practice that shouldn't be allowed to proliferate.
It's not only a national security issue. It's also a human rights hazard.
I don't know of any but I also wouldn't be surprised if there were. The NBA and American movie production companies already censor in the US as concession to access the Chinese markets. Not arguing this is a good thing mind you, just that it may not be unprecedented.
I'm always suspicious of anyone who says "this is a fad" who treats the thing with disdain. If you don't understand what people like about the thing, it seems unlikely you will be able to identify if that desire is going to fade quickly.
I've been doing tech in Poland since ~2002 and it's not true.
We had a counterpart for I think every single US-based service, but most sites didn't survive the competition. Right now only eBay failed to enter our market (they tried, but the local Allegro won out).
Personally, I'm not the fan of the local copycats - because of their local scale they couldn't really get enough profit/investment to grow the tech just as much. But still - at least in Poland, it's not true that there were no substitutes.
> If the EU banned American big tech, they'd be set aback 20 years. Of course where would be a populist revolution.
Be more specific. I remember a time where dailymotion was mocking Youtube as a money blackhole due to its shitty tech. Lots of startups people in the US use are from Europe (Spotify). Lots of startups that exist in Europe don't even exist in the US, or don't get that much traction in the US (monzo, revolut, blablacar, thetrainline, toogoodtogo, etc.)
> And of course there's no point - what FB is doing is no different from what a EU-based FB would do.
there is so much wrong in this sentence. By being a US company FB is run much more differently. Control of information.
It's easy to create those apps when there is no external competition. China created every major internet service U.S has. EU can easily do the same.
The point is FB pay tax to US, and a EU-based FB will pay tax to EU. EU actually want to copy GFW , see https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/6487...
Unfortunately, all of these answers are off the mark.
A) Europe has tons of bright people and tons of technical talent - this is not the ussie.
B) Governments don't create stuff. So the 'EU' is barely a government it's not 'they' who can go and make something, or 'have it made'. Even the US gov. would suck bad at copying FB. Granted, if there were no competition, substitutes would arrive.
C) Europe does not have quite the dynamic leadership exhibited in the Valley. Maybe there would be something pop up, but it probably would be a bad clone, it might not have all the nimble features. FB advertising engine is complex, massive, they have huge ad sales division. This is the $$$ the pays for everything.
D) EU is still highly fragmented, and not an immigrant place like SV. Better to think of SV as really a 'global centre' that happens to be in America. Tons of talent from around the world, they come for the money and adventure, not so much to be 'American'.
E) Europeans value quality of life a lot, and in some things it's fine, but in some industries ... it means less competitive.
F) Europe esp. Germany, does not 'get' software in the way SV does.
So Europe has all the pieces but they are not quite aligned.
It's not at all 'easy' to fire on all cylinders and create amazing new experiences.
ByteDance et. al. have zillions of workers, working cheaply, often 7 days a week.
So Europe is good at R&D, Hardware, Lifestyle stuff, and stuff that doesn't need huge scale and major talent depth, things that don't move 24/7.
But EU is not going to build something 'better' than FB or Google anytime soon. But they discover good drugs and make good cars etc..
the EU would use yandex and VK. They are decent enough substitutes for google and FB , and of course the extra attention would make them better. There is enough money in the EU to buy them. There are already popular alternatives to US messaging apps, e.g. Viber.
You know there is this movement called open source software right?
With it not only a lot of strategical pieces of software are available to anyone to modify, but it also allowed people all over the world to contribute to them.
This means that not only Europe but other parts of the world have people with enough knowledge to not only contribute, combine and use those things but also to 'push the envelope' in research and development.
BTW, a more decentralized, organic tech world, is something we should try to achieve, because as we are seeing now, there are no safe heavens for anything, anymore.
We should think more like human beings and less with nationalistic mentality, because all i've seeing til now, is nationalistic values being use not just to undermine other countries, but also undermine the nationalistic's own country.
If there's one valuable lesson history teach us, is that even the Rome empire, comparatively much powerful than anything we have now, started to fall when they corrupted the core values that served as a foundation of the Roman empire.
And nationalistic, the "we are better than everyone else", walls, stupid wars, etc..
But lets not forget an important difference here, right now all the achievements, the culture, the universities, the internet, the knowledge is widespread all over the world..
This is a pandora box effect, that once opened, cannot be closed anymore.
So even if the US totally closed itself to the world, im pretty sure the world would keep moving forward, and once this Donald Trump version of US lost it all and tried to become part of the world again, im pretty sure, it would be welcomed with open arms, and a catch up path would be offered to try to recover what was lost along the way. A sort of "Marshall plan" only that this time it would be to put the US back on their feet.
I hope the US dont keep going through this path that only leads to self-destruction..
The government's behavior should not be allowed in a country of rule of law. We should all wake up to defend our God given right to use apps we like. Guys, please don't fall into the trap of us vs them. The governments are all bullying us, the people. They raised tariff in the name of whatever, yet in reality, they collect more tax and we pay more for goods we need. The same goes with banning apps. The reality is that we are being stripped away more and more choices and freedom. So, we the people need to wake up and stand against it!
This is not about us vs them. No apps from Australia, Europe or Africa are on the list of banned apps. Its China where in order to do business there, you have to give the government access to your trade secrets and full server access without a warrant.
While its possible for any company to succumb to government pressure for unreasonable access, it is a prerequisite to do so in China. The world knows this.
Hong Kong's new national security law is plenty proof that China is not a genuine partner and is a bad faith actor. Your right to look at TikTok videos does not trump anyone else's right for security.
As far as I understand it, GDPR is personal privacy. I believe the US concern is one of national security.
It has already been established that social media has problems with national security when the company is owned by US. It is likely to be more problematic if it is owned by a country that continues to undermine us with espionage and Cold War tactics.
I think protecting our national security is not authoritarianism.
It’s pretty clear the US gvt doesn’t care about the monopolistic practices by big tech, the privacy concerns of TikTok, or that CCP has access to user data. It’s their lack of access to the private user data of this hugely popular app they lack and are after.
Having MSFT buy it means they’ll have a back door to TikTok content immediately just like they do Skype. The US 3 letter agencies have been gunning for this ever since the app blew up, and unlike all the valley apps they have had no access to its user data.
When billions of people believe something, it will become a "fact".
Right now the public opinion in China (not mine) is that India and America are hypocritical bullies and abusing the "national security" excuse, while China "never banned" any foreign web services, those "simply refused to comply with Chinese laws regarding terrorism" and their "inaccessibility" totally justified.
You see, here's the logical trap, Tiktok ostensibly didn't refuse to comply with any foreign law, and it will do any "dirty work" if being asked to (unlike foreign companies in China), so by this logic, it's a model citizen and the ban is unjustified and ridiculous. This plays right into the party's hands, right into its "century of humiliation" ideology.
>why should US allow Chinese?
So here's the catch, the CCP sabotaged and overthrew the Chinese Nationalist Party (now Taiwan) government exactly by exploiting its liberal constitution and free speech, the lesson they learned from that epic success is that never allow these freedom, China never touted freedom and rights so it doesn't matter, while the US being the democracy beacon breaching it has everything to lose.
>He was a brilliant student of China, a fierce cold warrior, and a tremendous admirer of the Chinese people, just as I think we all are.
>We must also engage and empower the Chinese people – a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.
>So to somehow think that we ought to ignore the voices of the people of China seems to me the wrong approach... But it seems to me we would dishonor ourselves and the people of China if we ignored them.
Isn't this whole new cold war all about the US trying to contain China? the failed "prosperity then freedom" China policy for the past thirty years all about? It's perfectly normal to not care, but "Policy makers" care.
> the CCP sabotaged and overthrew the Chinese Nationalist Party (now Taiwan) government exactly by exploiting its liberal constitution and free speech
This is some really bad history. The Nationalist Party was no defender of free speech.
The Chinese Civil War began in April 1927, when the Nationalists rounded up and executed thousands of Communists in Shanghai and other major cities. What made this massacre even more shocking was that the Nationalists were allied with the Communists up until the moment they carried out the purge. That event set off the Civil War.
> Right now the public opinion in China (not mine) is that India and America are hypocritical bullies and abusing the "national security" excuse, while China "never banned" any foreign web services, those "simply refused to comply with Chinese laws regarding terrorism" and their "inaccessibility" totally justified.
This is definitely not a public opinion.
Public opinion in US is splited like it always is in every single matter.
I agree on the ban... or, at least, they should take a closer look regarding national security.
Sending a lot of citizen personal info to the opposite super power like China and Russia does seem concerning, don't you agree?
OP means this is the public opinion in China, not in US. Or at least that's the public opinion that CCP wants to install. And unfortunately most of the people surrounding me agree this. And I can't argue with them without convincing them the "sometimes misguided censorship" is deliberate and people should not accept censorship in the first place (if most of them do China would have already been different). It's literally a trap.
look, things aren't binary.. No, it's not "support", obviously they largely stand by their country over the US. But it's not North Korea; they understand that life is good in the US, propaganda aside. They don't think our systems don't work _in general_, they think it wouldn't work _for them_
to directly answer your question, if you think this is a war of ideology, this move doesn't do the US any favors, regardless of how necessary or justified it is
I'd say banning TikTok has a small downside. Sending citizen info to the opposing super power should be prevented (it's not binary like you said, but the risk is high, so the impact is potentially high). The downside is some Chinese will look at US as hypocritical.
Here are 3 geopoltical issues that are way bigger than TikTok banning: Hong Kong, Taiwan, disputed islands on South China sea with Vietnam and Philippines. These issues evoke much stronger nationalism.
A large portion of Chineses probably already look at US as very bad guy regarding these 3 geopolitical issues already. Trying to turn Chinese's regular person to be positive by not banning TikTok is not worth it.
It's not like "oh yeah, I like US now because they don't ban tiktok, even though they try to help taiwan, hong kong, and etc. It's fine. TikTok is way more important here." Probably said no Chinese person ever.
It's still what I said, the CCP doesn't care that much about who has data on its citizens, the amount they have could never match the party's anyway, and the measures being taken made it so that potential subversion is unlikely. It's a different story outside China and still the US's to lose.
When 95% of the comments on Weibo are like what I said, I think it's pretty safe to say it is public opinion.
As I currently recide in a country famous for blocking access to websites, I follow these developments as closely as I can.
Whatever happens, it's probably going to be a recipe on how to force all foreign providers to act the way the local government wants. These days the theme is forcing on the ant-gay stance, they managed to force Netflix a show that had a gay character in it. Besides that charade, they passed laws to control the social media in the name of national security and citizens rights. This comes after Twitter exposed and deleted a pro government troll army.
Anyway, if this happens Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. can start looking into the future of Instagram for Iran, Twitter for Turkey, Google for EU - all forced to partner with a local company and the global versions inaccessible.
I am sure that the US ban of TikTok would be well rationalised but the US could have chosen the EU approach of enforcing US data being kept on US soil. Sad that US choose the Chinese approach of right our of banning(because somehow becoming like China is the way of topping the authoritarian Chinese order). Something tells me that this is not about national security.
Welcome to the world of partitioned internet in the name of national security. A boring dystopia where the less fre world no longer has a role model.
I hope you enjoy the life where the government is telling you what you can and can't use so that the country stays safe. Brilliant system that served all kind of authoritarian regimes.
Good luck to the start-ups, from now on you are looking to a future where you will have to strike a deal with each country you want to operate.
"Your app just crossed the TOP100 mark in the AppStore, would be shame if something happens to it because of national security. Maybe you should sell it to our crony while it's still worth something"
I know right? And this saddens me because my whole life the USA was the role model. I was born in a communist country but it changed to be more like USA at my early childhood, so USA is the dream. Now the USA is becoming this thing that values state security in expense of individual freedoms. I am totally not amused.
edit: unfavourable opinions seem to get downvoted into oblivion. I am actually surprised by the jubilance in the tech community towards state intervention. Had no idea that people dreamed of becoming like China where the all knowing government protects them by telling them what apps can use and which website they can visit.
sounds like an excuse to me. How is a political organization in a country that has no jurisdiction over you in any way a threat to your individual freedoms, but the state apparatus in your own country somehow not even when its literally telling you which apps you can use and which ones you can't?
Any fallout from this will be interesting. It can be easily argued that this is a case of the US President (not the US Government) using arbitrary emergency powers-—or the threat of their use—-to interfere with a business deal on behalf of a US company. Even ignoring suits from Facebooks’s competitors, effect on existing trade deals, and justification for foreign government interventions against US companies, one wonders if this is the start of a new trade war with China or just a warning to other social media companies (“nice market penetration you got there, shame if something were to happen to it“).
They’re banning TikTok because they don’t want a Chinese company having direct access to the location, camera, and microphones of hundreds of millions of Americans. I have the app installed and have all those permissions disabled.
I understand that it seems unfair but I get where they’re coming from given that China isn’t exactly a saint when it comes to spying/civil rights.
I think it Microsoft agrees to take ownership of the data and protecting it, it doesn’t make sense to ban it. I’m surprised Verizon or Twitter hasn’t stepped up with bid
Most smartphones are made in China, so CCP has access to them at the hardware level. My bet is that tiktok has hacked the human psychology: it's an equivalent of addictive sugary drink spiced with coke; it's a problem by itself, but it's a much bigger problem once we realise who manipulates the us citizens. I see tiktok as a backdoor into democracy: it can sway opinions of the masses or it can run social experiments.
The split would likely be Douyin (TikTok China) vs. TikTok for the rest of the world. The business is already structured that way- ByteDance operates Douyin directly but TikTok operates through a subsidiary.
From what I know:
Jack Dorsey closed down Vine. It wasn't destroyed by any country. Bytedance bought Musical.ly(Chinese App) and merged it with Tiktok.
I have never used either but I from what I can see is Tiktok is an evolution of Vine but not a copy. Vine was probably just too early.
social media app that has up to 80 million daily active users in the United States.
Crazy that one person can ban something over 1/4 the US population uses every day. The implications of that are staggering.
(for any politically trigger fingered voters who think this opinion is derived based on current administration, you would be incorrect. I do not think something like this should ever be decided by a single person, it should go through congress and if a new law or decision is the result of that, the party which is to be banned should have the ability to make their case to SCOTUS)
I don't know if it's "crazy" that 1 person (if it's indeed just 1 person) can ban an app. After all political/judicial/comercial orders to ban things happen all the time.
I think it's more telling that 1 decision can be effective actually banning it - considering that there are so many things/services that are banned and yet available online, the fact that this hypothetical ban be effective, says more for the tech stack of this app/service than for the actually political/commercial decision to ban it.
Having US data in US hands doesn't seem like a terrible development to me.
In China, the relationship between tech companies and the government is very close, and none would question any data requests. Its nothing like Apple which openly fights the US government in the supreme court..
Is that an abuse of power? Probably yes. Do I agree with it? Absolutely yes, because it is for the greater good of the citizens of the country.
Do I like Trump in general? Absolutely not, but I also don't automatically start cursing any decision he makes just because its made by him without trying to use two brain cells to analyze it first.
I feel safer knowing US data can be accessed by US government entities than foreign ones, specially ones that have a documented track record of industrial espionage against the country. Can't imagine what good can come off the Chinese government having access to PII and potential backdoor capabilities (e.g. the clipboard scandal) of tens of millions of children of US engineers/politicians/workers.
Is there a single reason why that can be good for the US citizens?
The choice of the president wasn't about the "app" itself. It was about the data being stored in foreign lands. If the app didn't have copious amounts of data of US citizens, he wouldn't have cared, even if it had a 100% user base in the US.
Europe has very similar rules on EU data being stored in EU data centers. Germany is a good example of those policies and no one seems to critisize them, because no one "blanket-hates" European leaders like they do to Trump.
The decision to ban was because TikTok didn't seem to be willing to cooperate to fix the data locality problem. Had they promised and started moving their data centers to the US, I doubt this would have happened. The acquisition by MS if happens, would do just that and allow the app to continue being used.
They've already done that. Currently there are a couple major data centers being in US/Singapore. US data is not permitted to go to china. The data currently is stored in a mix of US/singapore so can't claim solely US. The relevant blog post is here, https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/statement-on-tiktoks-conte.... I'd guess if US requested data to be solely US, that shift would probably be fine as currently singapore is mainly used as a backup and it'd be doable to have data centers in more distinct regions as currently US data is in just virginia.
Also trump already announced he does not intend to permit microsoft acquiring tiktok to be enough to not ban them. I'm doubtful he'd have any chance winning a court case if tiktok did sell to microsoft, but sounds like he'll push on the ban regardless.
It's a possibility, but I would guess no. The complaints from US sources have largely been about the user data from passively running the app, so I wouldn't expect regulatory obstacles to letting the videos themselves go across borders while keeping user data within the US company. (There could be technical challenges, but TikTok presumably already had to address them for GDPR compliance in Europe.)
Obama's pivot was based on TTP, and generally avoiding direct confrontation with China.
Trump's agenda is completely different - ignoring partnership/bilateral approach, and fairly assertively acting against China.
But those were also strategies founded in different eras: the TTP was create back when China was still not quite powerful enough to be a dangerous world actor. Now it's more of a 'standoff' situation with unpredictable leadership from Trump.
And with only a 4 year horizon after which 'everything changes' on the American side.
Yup, it was Trump that tantrumed out of the TPP, which was created as a firewall to China. Because of this, China has been growing increasingly confident, sensing the weakness in this administration and its inability to play geopolitics properly.
They'll probably end up banning advertisers from paying them, and TikTok from paying content creators. Sure, Americans will still be able to access the content (over an inferior interface), but TikTok will probably be losing money on American viewers (not necessarily a problem for a propaganda outlet), and TikTok won't be able to incentivize good content.
In the sense that they have been known to remove discussion that the CCP doesn't like , that they've created an environment where people feel the need to talk positively about China to get views , and in the sense that they are controlled by a company with close ties to the CCP (like practically every large company in China, harder to cite this but for an example see ).
You've hit my concern. Which was very little about spyware, and more about having a platform installed on devices all over the world that the CCP can just slip content into whenever it wants. Russia signed up for FB/Twitter/Reddit accounts and spread confusion and lies, imagine if they owned the platforms how much more targeted and impactful it could be.
TikTok seems to impress people with its algorithm serving them content they like, many HNers describe it as addicting even, that sounds like a tool for manipulation (which feels like all the internet is these days anyway, but I digress.)
I also don't like the idea of the US banning apps. But I also don't trust people to choose not to invest attention in TikTok. The world's a muddy, messed up, place.
While this sort of quashing of free markets may be permissible for sovereign nations, it comes with a heavy cost. Trump, and by proxy the U.S., moves to force the hand of ByteDance to divest itself of all interest in TikTok at fire sale prices through threat of shutting them down. The U.S. establishes its reputation for stifling competition whenever a strong enough sovereign interest is in play. China, and other countries, will respond in kind to protect their own interests - Tesla, Apple, Intel and whatever other company has a juicy stake in China are held hostage until they concede their interests of to a China state-run company. Imagine trying to do business in another country when the fear of takeover looms overhead if you ever become too successful? This behavior only serves to encourage more protectionist and isolationist markets.
It’s interesting that folks are generally giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. There are many comments to the effect of “while there is no public evidence, maybe the US government has secret evidence that TikTok has broken the law.”
Trump is incredibly vindictive. Remember a month ago when he hosted a way under-attended rally, because of a fake registration movement that spread on, yup, TikTok? Trump remembers.
It's that people argue the virtues of "free-markets" while simultaneously arguing the most valuable thing any business should build is a "moat".
It the utter acknowledgment that avoiding/prevent competition is the way to be successful, while arguing that free markets enforce competition.
Its blatantly obvious that network effects, exclusivity contracts and monopolies exist. And well and market dominance leads to more dominance by purchasing any future competitive business. And yet claim most success comes from marker efficiency.
Taking a non-tech example. Madden is getting closer to a 20 year exclusive license NFL on consoles. No game can compete with made up teams and rosters. The product is stagnant, innovation a dump and yet this continuous aspect of "free-market" is ignored.
I think you’re conflating a “free market” with a “perfectly competitive market”.
By and large, the US is a free market with your obvious government regulations. However, it’s not a perfectly competitive market because of the things you mentioned. Because a true “perfectly competitive market” is almost impossible to achieve, no nation’s economy is, but some are closer to it than others.
Perfect competition benefits the consumers most, while network effects, exclusivity contracts, and monopolies obviously benefit the companies more.
One of the biggest goals of US government economic regulations (at least ideally) is to steer the market as close to a perfectly competitive market as possible. Companies optimize in the other direction, and try to make their market less competitive despite those regulations.
This dynamic doesn’t mean it’s not a free market, it just means that we need regulations to counteract the forces of companies and keep it competitive.
This is why I find it misguided when people want a totally libertarian system with no regulations, because that will inevitably lead to a less competitive/efficient market.
100% agreed. I"m using however somehow I feel most of HN doesn't see this.
The issue is between how the term "free market" is defined and how it's used. My usage above is how it's commonly used - as meaning a "competitive market" - which as you mention is completely wrong.
A truly competitive market benefits consumers and society overall. A completely free market on the other hand benefits rent seeking and is a drain on society.
Free markets naturally tend towards anti-competetive rent-seeking behaviors. The best thing you can do for a market economy is to ensure it stays a competitive market. There will always be inefficiencies in markets which will accrue towards companies - but the amount of excess rent-seeking that flows to companies needs to be actively minimized.
No-one argues that the US has an unregulated free market and no-one respectable argues that it should.
Keeping spyware-collected data of private citizens out of the hands of antagonistic authoritarian regimes seems like an appropriate use of regulation, no? Hard to argue its less appropriate than trust-busting or consumer protection regulations.
> Keeping spyware-collected data of private citizens out of the hands of antagonistic authoritarian regimes seems like an appropriate use of regulation, no?
Possibly, yes. And if your goal was actually to fight authoritarianism, you’d be sure to pass these regulations in some sort of democratic process. You’d send it through Congress and give the people’s elected representatives a chance to weigh in. You wouldn’t use an executive order outside of very extreme, time-sensitive circumstances, if you actually gave a shit about fighting authoritarianism.
> No-one argues that the US has an unregulated free market and no-one respectable argues that it should.
No, but plenty of people vacuously and consistently argue that regulations should be eliminated because "free-market". And have no issue with most companies eliminating competition through any means other than producing a better product.
Taking an example people agree with. Apple should open up it's phone platform to other stores. If they're concerned about security, they can still be the final arbiters of what apps can ship. Ie they approve apps for all stores. However, each store can have it's own experience and crucially it's own cut of apps sold. Let's see how many consumers feel there is enough value in apple store to pay a 30% premium on apps they buy. More rent seeking.
But that's one of the few cases HN actually agrees with. the 1000s of others out there, people don't blink an eye.
I wonder how long this deal has actually been in the works, and Trump, seemingly privy to this knowledge, saw a good opportunity to take credit by pre-empting the inevitable announcement of a sell off. Why else would he announce his plans of an executive order instead of just doing it?
you might be right, but there are other reason to announce instead of doing: getting leverage, getting attention, being someone that talks a lot and does much less, not having a brain/mouth filter... probably a mix of trying to get leverage for something probably unrelated and getting some attention (possibly diverting it from something else)
From the US-China conflict perspective, it seems the Trump administration is looking for something that China cannot easily retaliate.
China can easily pick a consulate to close when the US closes consulate in Houston. But businesses from the US in China always require Chinese companies to operate, just like World of Warcraft is operated by NetEase in China.
After Microsoft acquire Tiktok's operation, if China just picks some US business to do the same it would make China looks too soft because China is already doing this for decades, and Trump could claim the US has beaten China in this round. But if China escalates the conflict by retaliating in radical ways, the Trump administration could rally more before the election.
I doubt China is interested to escalate this, beside some rhetoric. In fact, U.S. might open the pandora box of data sovereignty.
China already started to change U.S. just as Pompeo feared.
FYI, among the big tech Microsoft seems to have one of the best relationship with the Chinese state. Bing and Outlook is available albeit censored. Windows also widely used. It could be the case that Microsoft has a back channel with Chinese gov and already discussed this issue. I hope that the acquisition will be smooth.
Very much that. Beijing is running out of big "American" companies it can retaliate against.
No Facebook in China, no Tviter in China, all major American brands are effectively franchises, or joint ventures, so they will be shooting their own business in the foot.
They can of course order those Chinese joint venture owners to appropriate the American stake in their corporate entities, but those state never been high to begin with, with Chinese JV sides always trying to exfiltrate equity out of them.
Out of big fish, pretty much the only one remaining is Apple, which owns very little in China, but will be crippled if being denied access to Chinese contract manufacturers.
To add to your point: Apple has been pretty rapidly shifting operations to India, precisely for this reason. I’d be willing to bet Apple has plans in place to move the rest of their manufacturing operations if China were to retaliate against it. Not saying it would be easy, or painless, but perhaps not as difficult as we’d imagine.
> But businesses from the US in China always require Chinese companies to operate
This is a very common misconception. It was true decades ago, when China was just beginning to open up, but over the past three decades, joint-venture requirements have been removed from most industries.
Maybe I am blaming the wrong companies/countries but it seems to me that platforms like iOS and Android should provide near perfect sand boxing for all apps, including TikTok. No app should be able to quietly have access to our devices.
The new beta for iOS is doing a better job by having little notifications of what app is using the camera, microphone, your contacts, etc.
I would also like to speculate on something: Peter Theil owns a lot of Facebook stock and TikTok is a market threat to Facebook. Peter Theil is close with President Trump. You can see where I am going with this...
I mean, if this goes through essentially what will have happened is the president used the power of the state to get a foreign company to sell control of a valuable product to Microsoft at what will almost certainly be a firesale price. If I were Microsoft, I wouldn't be complaining!
I don't know why this is getting downvoted; companies in other sectors (e.g. oil) get involved in US politics regularly.
But there's little precedent for media companies to take action in US politics overtly. (IANAL, but I suspect there are legal impediments as well). Taking a political stand, or providing support for one side, might force big tech companies to resolve the ambiguity as to whether they're media companies or not.
EDIT 2: I can see I've accidentally opened a can of worms about biased coverage and editorials; but my usage of "support" was intended as overt and consistent involvement in political campaigning, generally through donations. And to my surprise, that does occur.
One can assume they already are. By virtue of having a disproportionate representation of one political party within their ranks (which they do), you can argue that a lot of their decision making (however benign/simple/small) will fall in line with that parties platform, or end up promoting that party in some way.
Right now from my point of view, it absolutely looks like the big social-media companies like Youtube/Twitter/Reddit/etc are actively purging large conservative opinions/voices in anticipation for the US election coming up. It's downright Orwellian that we allow them to have such a huge impact on political elections under the guise of "community standards". Those same community-standards that are touted for protecting the vulnerable are acting as camouflage for political meddling.
As for Tik-tok, I'd ban it just for the degenerate social impact it's having on a large section of our youth population. Ditto for gang-glorifying, misogynistic rap music.
America has been acting neutral for last decades, especially last 15 years where China has asymmetrically taken advantage of American companies. China is getting a taste of their own medicine and I am fine with that.
how is this in any way in opposition to the free market? The information is freely acceesible, the fact that its hard to understand is the problem of the consumer no? The free market solution would be to have some kind of independent organization summarize this information and attempt to distribute it in the hopes people read.
Capitalism is the reason the US outsourced its manufacturing to China to begin with - borrowing Chinese labor practices and corruption to do an end run around its own ideals for the sake of maximizing profits.
I mean, America is the country that fought the Nazis then hired them to build their space program just so they could plant their flag on the Moon and claim it before the Soviets. Hell, American companies were doing business with the Nazis while at war with the Nazis.
No nation puts it principles ahead of its interests.
> But unlike China, America fashions itself as a bastion of capitalism. Borrowing Chinese practices seems a little antithetical to everything I see America as
China is approaching fascism from the Lenin-Stalin-Maoist “Communist” side, the US from the mixed economy welfare state side. That they should be increasingly borrowing unpleasant tactics from each other is unsurprising, even if contrary to the image each side tries to project for propaganda purposes.
The US hasn't yet quite established unquestioned control of the faction working to implement fascism, so has a better chance of changing course in the near future.
Even if they were honest and absolutely no data ever went back to China after this (not likely), that’s still billions flowing right back to a Chinese company straight out of America if they’re purchased. If Trump is sincere about his America first claims, he’d have a good reason to ban it and make the product worthless regardless.
There are billions flowing between China and the US for all sorts of reasons. I've seen arguments that complete divestment from China is the morally right thing to do, but it's hard to imagine how it could be economically advantageous for the US from an "America first" perspective.
That seems like a bit of an overreaction on the company’s part though, doesn’t it? It’s not at all clear that the president had a legal avenue to ban the service, and he has certainly said a lot of outlandish things that don’t come to pass.
Tiktok needs to be hooked up to PRISM and all the other NSA programs immediately. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft or whoever buys it is compensated with a piece of US intelligence's bottomless pit of money.
We may never know the history definitively, but it's likely the sale would have been under discussion for months, from when politicians were strongly indicating that TikTok's ownership structure wouldn't be acceptable in the long term but hadn't announced any concrete action. These kinds of huge deals can only be constructed so quickly, even under time pressure.
Why there's a so much hype about blocking TikTok? China blocked multiple US websites by replicating them first and blocking them (Google, FB, Twitter), irony, isn't it? Were those websites against Chinese laws? I'm surprised by some people reacting negatively to this.
P.S. I am not a pro Trump.
Just echo back on U.S. doesn't have precedents of blocking software in the article. I don't think that's true. U.S. has both means (file request to Apple and Google to pull software off the shelf, remove the domain from root DNS etc) and done these before for piracy and other reasons.
DMCA is for one. I am not sure for "national security" reasons what options would be. It is definitely challenging to come up with excuses within rules of law. I would imagine that some combinations of failures to meet FCC regulation and "immediate" national security threat probably would do the trick. There is no guarantee that Apple AppStore or Google Play Store won't make a stand and challenge these requests in court though.
Us companies like Facebook and Twitter had a chance to operate in China as long as they were willing to follow local laws/policies; they were banned because they didn’t want to cooperate.
On the other hand, TikTok seems willing to obey us laws and is bringing its team/data center into the us. Banning TikTok in spite of that sounds similar to injecting disinfectant for COVID
China is a communist regime. They can do whatever the hell they want, why would american companies spend any time conforming to their demands when they can pull the rug out from under them at any time. Also, they would be under their total control forever.
The TikTok app is served by the US data center operated by a team in the US. If they violate any US law, federal regulators can find out and punish TikTok based on evidence like how they fined Facebook. Being owned by the CCP doesn't mean that they cannot obey US law.
And it is really hard to imagine how CCP can harm the interests of the US people with those short fun videos. Does Trump believe virus spreads via these short videos?