To the relief of the ever-growing community of American Tiktok devotees, Tiktok will continue to be available in the United States.
Less than 48 hours after the official announcement, the US government promptly lifted the ban on Tiktok in the country even before it started.
Tiktok practically revolutionized the consumption habits of social media users worldwide as the platform to succeed – and outdo – Snapchat in promoting short video formats.
It shortened our already short attention spans by popularizing 3- to 15-second video content.
Privacy and Security Concerns
US President Donald Trump first threatened to shut down the app in August.
Apparently, Trump and his administration harbour apprehension over the platform’s data security, as well as China’s potential access to it.
The threat was actualized when an order by the US Commerce Department was due to forbid the downloads of Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and TikTok from today onwards.
Both apps are among 224 Chinese mobile softwares to be banned in India this year over similar concerns.
The country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
Trump’s Seal of Approval
Fortunately, Tiktok owner ByteDance was able to strike a deal that appears to restore Trump’s faith in the app’s security before the ban took place.
“The security will be 100%,” Trump told reporters.
ByteDance plans to team up with Oracle (expected) and Walmart (wait, what?!) for a new company, Tiktok Global, that will take over US operations.
According to Trump, Tiktok Global will be “totally controlled by Oracle and Walmart”.
Lest you’re not aware, Walmart is one of the largest supermarket chains in the world, with over 4.7K stores in the US and almost 2.2 million employees.
Additionally, Reuters reported Tiktok Global to have a majority of American directors, a US chief executive and a security expert on the board.
US shareholders estimate a 53% control over TikTok Global, with Oracle holding a 12.5% stake.
Together with Walmart, the tech firm will participate in a pre-IPO financing round in which they can take up to a 20% cumulative stake in the company.
ByteDance investors will take up the remaining 80% of shares, 36% of which will be held by Chinese investors.
If this sounds chim, it basically means that ByteDance will still own a majority of the TikTok, but TikTok will be controlled by the US.
Tiktok and Trump Pleased with the Deal
Tiktok said it was “pleased that the proposal by TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart will resolve the security concerns of the US Administration and settle questions around TikTok’s future in the US”.
The platform hails Oracle as the “trusted technology provider, responsible for hosting all U.S. user data and securing associated computer systems to ensure US national security requirements are fully satisfied”.
Besides hosting all US user data, Oracle also reserves the right to inspect Tiktok’s source code.
Trump reciprocates by vocalizing his strong support for the deal. He anticipates 25,000 new job opportunities to follow Tiktok Global’s establishment, likely in Texas.
“I have given the deal my blessing,” Trump said. “I approve the deal in concept.”
Currently, the deal awaits China’s approval. In the meantime, the Commerce Department will delay by one week an order that would have been effective late Sunday to stop Google and Apple from offering TikTok in their US app stores.
Interestingly, Trump has included a US$5 billion US education fund as part of the deal, which ByteDance seems unaware of.
Don’t put down your popcorn yet, guys – guess the drama won’t be over anytime soon.
Because remember: it’s unbanned for one more week for the deal to go through.
If you’re wondering why TikTok could’ve made everyone obsessed, here’s a video showing you how TikTok “brainwash” you (also, please check out our YouTube channel for more information videos!):