Even after a joint-offer by Oracle and Walmart was accepted for a 20% stake in Bytedance, the threat of TikTok being banned in the US remains. The China-based company maintains that it will keep a controlling 80% stake, but Donald Trump is having none of it. It’s obviously all political – American elections are just over a month away, and China-bashing is a large part of Trump’s America First policy. Here’s what’s been said so far and what it means for us.
Some words do come easy
Walmart and Oracle have said that their 20% stake will be a controlling one: “Bytedance will have no ownership in TikTok Global”. In response, and on their Chinese website, Bytedance said they wanted to address “some false rumours”, stating that they will still be the majority shareholder and there will surely be no transferring of the valuable algorithms behind TikTok’s incredible success.
And in response to the statement issued by the American companies, a Chinese state-linked media company said that Beijing will surely not agree to American control of TikTok. Why? Because it will endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity. Now, where have we heard that before?
What does it mean for the rest of us?
That’s the question we, on this little gem in the Med, would like to know. So far, there are no signs that Europe is ready to follow America’s footsteps and threaten a ban. Though there are calls for an investigation and to get TikTok to better comply with European laws, there is nowhere near the same tension. Put simply, Huawei is a much more significant threat than TikTok, especially with the rollout of 5G networks, but the app is here to stay for now. Having said that, we always recommend you read the terms and conditions of each app you download. Good things don’t come for free, especially in a time when personal data is a currency.
Tag your TikTok buddies while you can – we’ve surely not heard the last of this saga.