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US Commerce Department Rescinds TikTok Ban

US Commerce Department Rescinds TikTok Ban

TikTokUSA

The US Commerce Department has announced that it is rescinding a decision made to place Chinese owned TikTok and WeChat on a list of applications that were prohibited from transactions by US citizens. The ban was issued in September of last year by the Trump administration in a bid to stop any additional downloads of the apps.

Presidential Executive Orders

President Joe Biden recently withdrew a number of executive orders by the previous president that sought to block any new downloads of the apps which are owned by the Chinese company Tencent and ordered the Commerce Department to conduct a review of any security concerns posed by these and other Chinese-made apps. The previous administration had established the so-called 'TikTok ban' in response to concerns about data being gathered on US citizens by China and also sought to ban transactions with other apps, including WeChat, which would have effectively banned their use in the US. WeChat has reportedly been downloaded by more than 19 million users in the US and has become a widely used platform for payments, services and games. Biden's new executive order revokes the bans against WeChat and TikTok as well as against another eight communication and financial software applications.

While Biden's executive order rescinded the bans, it nonetheless directed the Commerce Department to continue monitoring applications like TikTok to determine whether they could impact US national security. It also ordered the department to present recommendations within 120 days that would help to protect US data acquired or made available to companies controlled by other foreign adversaries.

National Security Concerns

TikTok remains one of the world's most popular social media apps and China's foreign ministry welcomed the move as a positive move urging the US to respect the free market and not to use so-called national security concerns to suppress China's tech industry. The effort by the Trump administration to effectively ban various Chinese apps had led to numerous legal challenges which had the effect of heightening tensions between the two countries. Last year a US district court judge granted a temporary injunction to TikTok that blocked the effort to ban downloading the app. At the time Trump had approved a bid by US tech company Oracle (backed by Walmart) to purchase TikTok but the move failed to gain approval from China's regulators. The app is believed to have more than 1 billion users world wide and is particularly popular with younger users.

Why Is TikTok Being Sued?

Why Is TikTok Being Sued?

TikTokSued

TikTok, the social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is facing a UK lawsuit that could see it forced to pay damages of billions of pounds if it is successful. The lawsuit, brought by legal firm Scott and Scott and backed by a former British children's commissioner, claims that the company collects a huge range of children's personal information when they use the app. As well as harvesting their pictures and videos, it is claimed the app also collects children's phone numbers, specific location details and biometric data which it then sells to third parties for profit.

British Children Data Harvested

Parents and children are likely to be shocked by the revelations, as well as privacy regulators, since the app is used by a huge number of teenagers. According to the UKs media regulator OfCom, it is estimated that almost 45% of children aged between 8 and 12 use the app which represents about 3.5 million children in the UK alone and is likely to be potentially millions more across Europe as a whole.

The lawsuit claims that children's personal information was harvested without explicit consent being gained (which, in the case of children under the age of 18, would need to come from an adult) and constitutes a serious breach of both UK and EU privacy provisions, according to one of the lawyers acting for the plaintiffs in the case.

TikTok Blocked

This is not the first time that the ByteDance's data protection policies have been challenged and Tiktok sued. In 2019 the US Federal Trade Commission levied a record fine of $5.7 million against the company for similar offences of illegally gathering children's personal information. It has also come under scrutiny in India where it was temporarily banned and finally blocked completely from the country. TikTok is also under investigation by the UK Information Commissioner's Office for whether it complies with the UK's data protection rules and whether it protects children's right to data privacy with a report expected later in the year.

TikTok claims that it is only intended for users over the age of 13 but it is claimed that the app is being used by much younger children since all they need to do is enter an older age as there is no additional checking performed by the app. Lawyers are seeking thousands of pounds of compensation for each child, seeking that the app meet its user age requirements as well as demanding that the company provide full transparency about the data it collects and the purposes it is used for.

A Look at TikTok's New Ecommerce Features

A Look at TikTok's New Ecommerce Features

eCommerce

Developed and launched in 2016 by ByteDance, TikTok is a social media application that allows users to share short videos. In early 2020, TikTok gained massive popularity across the globe, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that triggered the social isolation and lockdown policies. While this application was solely meant for entertainment at first, e-commerce sellers are now taking advantage of it to market their products. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the new TikTok's new features.

TikTok Product Links

This feature allows the seller to add a product link, which enables the users to click and view the products in the online shop. This way, TikTok sellers get to market their products on this platform without necessarily displaying them.

Short Video Displays

Apart from adding a link to your products, TikTok also allows you to display your products in form of short videos. Here, you can demonstrate the actual working of the product and get people interested in purchasing it.

Livestreamed Shopping

This feature allows brands and influencers to host shopping livestreams, enabling viewers to view products and make in-app purchases in real-time. The TV shopping channel feature is suitable for brands and influencers that command a massive fan following.

TikTok's Competitors

Currently, TikTok is competing with numerous other ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Wix, Square online, BigCommerce, and Squarespace. Despite their different business models, these platforms target virtually the same audience, meaning the competition in this space is cutthroat.

TikTok Partnership With Shopify

In October 2020, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify that would allow at least 1 million merchants to market and sell their products through video ads. So far, the TikTok for Business feature enables ecommerce entrepreneurs to create and run campaigns on TikTok and engage their online communities. Beyond advertising their offerings on TikTok, merchants can also sell their offerings on the platform, and therefore, earn money on the platform.

The Future Is Now For TikTok Deals

The Future Is Now For TikTok Deals

TikTokDeals

While everyone else seems to be slumbering through the pandemic, TikTok seems intent on building a mighty digital empire. On all fronts, TikTok seems to be making deals and sewing up talent and sponsorships.

TikTok Business Partners

There seems to be a sense of real urgency in their efforts to embed themselves deeply into the social fabric of the nation. This could of course just be intelligent business practices, but it may also perhaps be fueled by TikTok's near-death experience at the hands of Donald Trump. If the matter ever comes up again, they apparently want plenty of native allies and business partners available to speak on their behalf.

The company has recently been expanding hard into partnerships with major sports leagues. The most recently announced deal comes via twin Major League Soccer franchises. The Portland Timbers of the men's league and the Portland Thorns of the women's bracket have agreed to long-term sponsorship deals with TikTok which will include the addition of the well-known TikTok logo on the jersey sleeves of their upcoming 2021 season. While the company will not own the coveted front of the jersey, they are nevertheless making their mark. Few doubt that this is just the opening move in a long term strategy to make the company ubiquitous, especially among the younger generation.

Other recent sports-oriented moves are built around hosting live events for the increasingly popular UFC and, over in Europe, sponsoring the 2020 EUFA Football Tournament. All of these efforts show their eagerness to build a lifestyle brand that is much larger than just the original short-form video platform. What they clearly have in mind is an idealized user who has interests in the many things that TikTok is now partnering up with.

Long-Form Version of Tiktok

With significant recent acquisitions being booked in both the sports and music fields, one has to wonder what will come next on the corporate platter of delicacies? In particular, the many sports moves suggest that there are plans for a long-form version of TikTok on the horizon. Showing snippets of UFC or MLS action is nice highlight reel stuff, but the big money is still found in broadcasting the games themselves.

Current Stand Of The TikTok App In The US

When is the TikTok Ban Deadline?

Several days have gone by since November 12, the date popular Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok was supposed to be banned in the United States. Not only did this ban not happen, but the fuzz that came with it also faded away after tense months of trying to guess what was going to happen. Last week, it was reported that because Trump is contesting the results of the Election, TikTok feels as if his administration has its hands full with the legal drama surrounding it, therefore, simply forgetting to come through with the ban. That aside, TikTokers have filed a couple of injunctions that are helping to stall the app's ban.

On November 13, which also happened to the Friday the 13th, the Commerce Department's order to effectively bar TikTok in the United States was blocked by a US district court. If that executive order had not been blocked by Judge Wendy Beetlestone, the ban on ByteDance-owned TikTok would have taken effect on November 12 barring the app from being used in the country.

The Commerce Department reacted to these injunction by saying it would comply with it but it plans to defend the executive order and the efforts to implement it from legal challenges.

When giving her ruling, Judge Wendy encouraged the Commerce Department not to bar TikTok from providing their content delivery services, or hosting their data in the US.

TikTok's troubles started when Trump's administration made claims that it poses concerns to the national security of the United States because the app collects personal data on 100 million Americans who use it. The administration went on to claim that the Chinese government could easily obtain this data from ByteDance, putting the US at risk, allegations that TikTok denies.


Will the Tiktok Ban Happen?

For now, there is no clear indication on whether or not the ban will take effect in the future.

US District Judge Carl Nichols, who on September 27 issued a preliminary injunction that stopped the removal of TikTok from Alphabet Inc's Google Play Store and Apple Inc's App Store will on November 18 hold a hearing on the other aspects of the executive order blocked by Judge Beetlestone. So let's wait and see.

TikTok US: What The Future Holds For The Popular Social Media App

TikTok US: What The Future Holds For The Popular Social Media App

OracleTikTokUS

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms out today. From trending dances to sketch comedies, social media influencers are really finding creative ways to make great content, brand themselves, and earn livable salaries. Still, the social media platform has not been without its challenges and controversy.

What Is TikTok and Why Is TikTok US In the Throes of Political Discourse

TikTok, in many ways, is like the popular Vine app we had a few years ago. Like Vine, TikTok is a video social media app where 'real short videos' take center-stage. The short-form video app has been the source of viral dances that have taken pop songs up the Billboard charts, as well as spearheaded viral political activism and satirical content. It is the virality of its content that has added to the app's popularity and rapid rise within the pop culture digital dynamic.

All things considered (including the shareability of its content to just about every other popular social media platform), all is good and well in the world of TikTok. Well, except for its owner, that is. The TikTok app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The concern is that user data can be handed over to the Chinese government if so required. The owners of TikTok has pointed to the fact that they are against such practices and would not hand over user data at the request of the Chinese or any other government. Still, the United States (US) government considers the app to be a national security threat and commands that the app owner meet the outlined requirements of risk being banned in the US.

The Ultimatum: The Only Solution the Trump Administration Will Accept

Even with the best efforts of the owners of TikTok to reassure the US government and other critics that the app does not use spy technologies nor is it a threat to national security, the Trump administration has laid down the gauntlet. The ultimatum is simply this, be banned in the US or be owned by a US company with user data being held and controlled on US soil - far from access by foreign governments and espionage. With the option to be US-owned, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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