President Trump’s campaign threatened by TikTok, a Chinese owned company

With president Trump’s rally sullied by TikTok teens and K-Pop fans, is the ongoing TikTok ban an excuse in sight of the 2020 presidential election?



Commentary by Camila Aitken, highlights news magazine contributor

With growing distrust between China and the United States, the potential TikTok ban only adds more tension to the situation. On Aug. 6, 2020 President Donald J. Trump made an executive order banning any transactions with TikTok, as well as the Chinese-owned app WeChat. 

     According to WhiteHouse.Gov, a main concern of President Trump is that the Chinese-owned social media platform, TikTok will allow the Chinese Communist Party access to many American TikTok users’ personal information, and this might allow them access to the locations of federal contractors and employees.  

     Following his previous executive order, Trump made a new order which would give the company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, 90 days until their American assets would be stripped away. Consequently, TikTok chose to sue the U.S. government over depriving its due process and blocking the company from operating within the United States. 

     Although TikTok has been accused of data mining and invading users’ privacy, the app remains Generation Z’s favorite and most popular social media platform since the merging of the older social media platform in 2018. Although some believe Trump’s actions are due to the app posing a possible national threat, others speculate it may be a way to strengthen his campaign and convince voters that he is very strict and China is no exception.

     “Although U.S. based companies do take our data, I would not feel comfortable giving my data overseas, to a government that I do not trust,” senior Fabian Crespo said.

     Besides Trump speculating that the app brings danger into the U.S. borders, his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was used to make a statement by TikTok users, most of whom were K-Pop fans and teenagers, reserving tickets for the rally that they had no intention of attending. The message to buyout Trump’s rally and boycott it was spread mostly through alternative TikTok, which is where more artistically-driven users release their videos. This is also where most of the activism on the app is done. This stunt in Trumps’ 2020 campaign demonstrates TikTok’s ability to influence and make people come together to achieve a common goal. 

     Furthermore, this is not the first Trump versus China battle. A similar situation occurred with a Chinese multinational technology company Huawei. Trump has recently decided to further limit this company’s ability in purchasing chips that are made or designed with American software or equipment. 

     Even though TikTok is thought to be data mining in the U.S. in the eyes of the government, some users are unphased by this news and feel the app provides a place to connect, learn and unite.

     “I am against TikTok being banned within the United States because it’s been a source of entertainment for me. It has also allowed me to see others be creative and even access quick educational videos such as people giving quick tips for the SAT and even for the college essay,” senior Jayssuly Martinez said

     Beside all the political backlash TikTok gets, it remains a place for people to connect and even plan large movements for what they believe in. Aside from the large false registration act for the Tulsa, Oklahoma Trump rally, TikTok has also been used to amplify the message of the Black Lives Matter movement and has been spreading the need for equality through posting video footage of police brutality, protests and commentary from BLM supporters and activists. All in all TikTok has become a very powerful and influential social platform since its creation and has paved the way for influential activists and personal influencers.