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US Commerce Department Rescinds TikTok Ban

US Commerce Department Rescinds TikTok Ban

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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While Biden's executive order rescinded the bans, it nonetheless directed the Commerce Department to continue monitoring applications like TikTok to determine whether they could impact US national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.

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.

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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