Even so, there may be hope to save the app: Microsoft has been in talks with ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based owner, to acquire the app and keep it available to U.S.-based users. But Trump is reportedly only giving Microsoft 45 days to finalise acquisition talks with ByteDance for TikTok, according to Reuters. But even then, there’s no guarantee that he won’t turn around and ban the app anyway. And reportedly, now Trump wants a piece of the sale price, which isn't really how things work.
Trump’s sudden laser-focus on banning TikTok isn’t out of character for him: The man thrives on petty drama and controversy. But why is he going after "Savage Challenge" dancers all of a sudden?
Let’s dive into this mystery, ahead.
Tensions between the U.S. and China
U.S.-China tensions could very well be a driving force behind Trump's sudden decision to put TikTok on the App store chopping block. He has continuously used China as a scapegoat, making racist comments and blaming coronavirus on China, calling it the "kung-flu." He even told commentator Greta Van Susteren during a recent interview that “It’s something we’re looking at, yes. It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.” Some have also labeled TikTok a national security threat because of its data-collection abilities.
TikTok teens and K-pop stans tanking his Tulsa rally
Could Trump still be mad over TikTok’s role in his now-famously sparsely attended June rally in Tulsa, OK? The commander-in-chief and his administration bragged about how many seats they would fill during the first rally of his 2020 campaign — originally planned for Juneteenth — on June 20, only to be met with a near-empty stadium on the day of the event. The mastermind culprits behind those empty seats? Teens using TikTok and K-pop stans, who spread the word for their peers to register for free tickets en masse, and then not show up. Given how much he likes to brag about his "huge" rallies, it's not out of the question that this made him furious and contributed to his decision.
TikTok's political power
Trump's own plan may just backfire on him. Since he announced his intention to ban TikTok, many young people have said that they are even more mobilised to vote against him, calling the proposed ban a "game-changer." This is a great example of TikTok's political power, and probably what Trump feared in the first place, which is why he moved to ban the app. TikTok is, after all, known for amateur political pundits and humorous provocateurs, from comedian Sarah Cooper's brilliant lip-syncing videos to Claudia Conway, Kellyanne Conway's Trump-hating 15-year-old daughter.
TikTok has been controversial for a while: Last month, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign banned the app from staffers’ work phones over data privacy concerns. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called for the U.S. government to investigate TikTok over censorship concerns back in October 2019. The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department are looking into allegations that the app failed to protect children's privacy. Whatever ends up happening to TikTok, it's sure to stir up the news cycle for a while — so stay tuned for updates.