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Why did Trump ban TikTok?

President Donald Trump issued executive orders this week banning US transactions with Chinese tech firms ByteDance and Tencent. While Tencent owns Chinese messaging app WeChat, ByteDance is the Beijing-based parent company of the extremely popular short-video sharing app TikTok.

Published: August 8, 2020, 9:02 am

    With 800 million monthly active users, TikTok already surpassed LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. At an estimated $78 billion, TikTok owner Bytedance is the world’s most valuable startup and almost half of all users are between 18 and 24 years old — that is voting age in the US.

    Some have suggested that this is a “shakedown”, but the Trump administration has not been particularly hostile to foreign investment — it has continued to tick upward since his election, according to Bloomberg. A quick look at the TikTok demographic rather suggests that users on the platform will not be voting for a white Republican candidate.

    Generation Z’ers in the US are mainly part of the new TikTok subculture, one of the fastest growing social-media platforms in the world promoting an alternative version of online sharing. It allows users to create short videos with music, filters, and some other features and is available in more than 150 countries. According to Sensor Tower, TikTok was the top non-game app downloaded in the US in February 2019. The reported growth in the US was 375 percent year-on-year, according to mobile data and analytics company AppAnnie. TikTok thus tops the download charts for 2020.

    Non-white Americans were by far the youngest racial or ethnic group in the US Census Bureau data, with a most common age of just 3 years old. Therefore, non-white Americans were the youngest racial or ethnic group in the Census Bureau data as measured by median age (21 in 2018) – and this also happens to be the TikTok demographic.

    For white Americans, the most common age was 58, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. By comparison, nearly six-in-ten minority Americans were Millennials or Generation Z and younger (Generation Z begins with those born in 1997 with no official endpoint yet).

    Racial and ethnic minorities already made up 40 percent of the US population in 2019, an estimated increase of about 1 271 000 people from 2017. The minority population’s growth stands in contrast to the non-Hispanic white population, which declined by about 257 000 between 2017 and 2018.

    In the wake of the radical Black Lives Matter movement, it could be that the Trump administration perceives TikTok to be not a Chinese threat, but an internal American one in that the platform could be used to radicalise young people of colour even more, causing more riots and violence in an election year. Its current Chinese owners, coming from a largely homogeneous, authoritarian society, might not appreciate just how fragile multicultural, multiethnic America really is.

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    • Cosmik Debris

      Lots of blurb but nowhere does it say why trump banned tik tok.

      • Rentia Diedericks

        It’s obvious that Trump fears TikTok will interfere with the elections. Minorities vote for the Dems. BLM has already cost him a 9 p/c deficit

        • Andrew Thompson

          BLM has also helped everyone else see what its true agenda actually is (anarchy at all costs) and the remaining voters who already aren’t on the Trump Train are clamoring to get on.
          When you are young and invincible, it is easy to believe the establishment is better when you are in charge – perceptions mature as one starts their own family, has bills and the normality’s of life to be mindful of. If there was mandatory military service, many, though not all of the young would have a different manner of assessing life and making appropriate choices – post-secondary institutions barely care enough about course subject matter, and make indoctrination a priority.

          • Rentia Diedericks

            Trump will only benefit from being the ‘law and order’ president if the demographic is white. At the moment the racial balance is at a tipping point – BLM highlighted just that

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