President Trump announced an official executive order last night banning the apps TikTok and WeChat in the US. The executive order will go into effect in 45 days if the apps are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies to a US buyer.
The reason behind this is that TikTok allegedly automatically captures users’ information such as location and browsing and search histories, potentially allowing China to track Federal employees and contractors, collect information for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.
WeChat, a messaging app that also allows users to send funds to each other, is also now being banned as well for similar privacy reasons. The app was primarily used to communicate between those in the US and China, as China has already banned American messaging apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
Apparently Microsoft might be making moves to buy TikTok, but no one has made any moves to save WeChat. Losing the messaging app would be devastating to a lot of people, especially because this might be their only way to communicate with friends and loved ones in China.
My mom and I are the only members of our family in the US……..cutting off WeChat basically means cutting off Chinese-Americans' almost universal method of keeping in touch with our families abroad 🙃https://t.co/i0lJ5RqKWd
— 罗薇 Ameorry Luo ✊+✊🏿 BLM (@dustandhalos) August 7, 2020
Some are even creating petitions to help save their only way of communicating with their loved ones.
please take a moment to sign this petition!! wechat helps countless people communicate with their families and it shouldnt get banned. signing will only take you seconds, and make sure you fill out the email verification later! https://t.co/33bM6U3VnJ
— bunny 🎀 (@jsuh97) August 7, 2020
Interestingly enough though, there has also been some relief that WeChat might be taken away because some people think that it continues to support the censorship of Chinese citizens.
I think WeChat is not actually a bridge between China and the world, it is a prison that traps the minds of overseas Chinese people as if they have never left China. It sucks everyone related to China into a black hole of censorship and surveillance. https://t.co/Ic12X1SwWi
— Yaqiu Wang 王亚秋 (@Yaqiu) August 7, 2020
But honestly there’s so much back and forth it can be hard to keep up.
My head is spinning: Expulsions. Xinjiang sanctions. TikTok. WeChat. Extradition. Sanctions on Carrie Lam. The U.S.-China relationship has changed so quickly, and so profoundly, that it is hard to keep up.
— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) August 7, 2020
And then we have our beloved TikTok. Oh boy.
Dear god please don’t ban tiktok
— lolitaa.poo (@lolitaa_poo) August 6, 2020
Microsoft offering to buy tiktok just so Trump can’t ban it shows that not all heroes wear capes 😥
— Grace Lamberty (@gracelamberty_) August 5, 2020
There are definitely those that think TikTok is China’s “weapon.”
On @MariaBartiromo's Wall Street in the 8:00 ET hour tonight talking about how an app for watching silly videos is #China's instrument to cause chaos, manipulate American opinion, and sway elections. #TikTok #WeChat
— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) August 7, 2020
I have to say today is a good day. I’m basking in the glow of a nation standing up against tyranny. From wechat to the Uyghurs Americans are fighting to take back our country from the CCP. There’s a long way to go, but every step helps reaffirm our founding principles.
— General Spalding (@robert_spalding) August 7, 2020
Then of course there are those who are finding yet another reason to hate on our President.
He could have used an executive order for masks.
He could have used an executive order to shut down.
He could have used an executive order to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who died needlessly.
He used an executive order to ban TikTok. https://t.co/RHySaA63X1
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) August 7, 2020
“we should ban tiktok because the chinese are stealing our data” bro just admit you can’t dance
— soul nate (@MNateShyamalan) August 7, 2020
We can’t forget those that believe banning these apps is a breach of the first amendment.
Trump’s banning of TikTok is a trial run. Next he will try to ban Twitter, Google, Facebook, and any media outlets that don’t report what he wants.
— Mrs. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) August 7, 2020
And last but not least, there are those few that are just plain happy to see the app gone.
— sally salad🥗 (@wonyoungPretty) August 4, 2020
The reactions seem to be all over the place, but honestly maybe banning TikTok is what young people need to make sure they vote in November.
Now that Trump is trying to ban TikTok by Executive Order, young people everywhere should use the app to spread the message: Register to vote, and defeat Trump in November.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 7, 2020
The reactions on the TikTok ban are definitely all over the place. It is curious to note though that the sudden ban of TikTok is happening after the record breakingly low turnout from Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was organized mainly through TikTok. Coincidence? Let us know what you think.