TikTok Could Be Cut Off From App Stores And Advertisers By Trump Ban: Reuters

The Chinese owned short video sharing app TikTok could no longer be allowed to app in app stores of the United States s well as not be able to publish any advertising on the platform according to the executive order banning the app by US President Donald Trump, said a report published by the news agency Reuters based on a White House document.

The executive order was signed by Trump last week which sought to ban all transactions with TikTok if the parent company of the app, China’s ByteDance, was unable to reach a divestment deal for the app within 45 days. Initially the announcement made no mention of the scope of thee ban as the government stated that definition of the transactions that would be barred at the end of the 45-day period would be made by the US Department of Commerce.

Insight into the Trump administration’s thinking over the ban was available in the White House document that was sent out to supporters last week. The document shows that the Trump administration is seeking to impose bans to disrupt the key aspects of TikTok’s operations and funding over concerns of the safety and security of the personal data of millions of American users of the app.

“Prohibited transactions may include, for example, agreements to make the TikTok app available on app stores … purchasing advertising on TikTok, and accepting terms of service to download the TikTok app onto a user device,” the document states.

The authenticity of the White House document was verified by a source of the White House, the Reuters report said.

No comments from TikTok were available.

The changes of growth of the app could be completely stalled if TikTok was unable to offer the app on Apple Inc and Google owner Alphabet Inc’s app stores which are the main sources of downloading the app into iPhones and Android smartphones, said some technology industry experts.

“That kills TikTok in the U.S,” said James Lewis, a cyber security expert with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If they want to grow, these rules are a huge obstacle.”

Preventing Americans from downloading TikTok from foreign websites may not be possible for the US government, he however said.

No comments in the report as available from Apple and Alphabet.

After the issuance of the executive order by Trump last week, advertisers on TikTok were informed by the company that it would continue to honor planned ad campaigns or refund the money if it was unable to run the ads. The company also pledged to work with major influencers to help migration of advertisers to other platforms if the ban is ultimately imposed. According to reports, contingency plans are being drawn up by some advertisers while also considering other apps for their marketing purposes.

Currently, negotiations between US based tech giant Microsoft and TikTok is underway for the former to acquire the app’s business and operations in North America, Australia and New Zealand and the possible deal is being supervised by the Trump administration.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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