As of August 2020, the app had 100 million active U.S. users, up from about 11.3 million at the start of 2018 and 39.9 million in October 2019. While becoming a vehicle for teen influencers, viral dance sensations, and sketch comedy, however, TikTok also became a target of the Trump administration’s animosity toward both China and social media.
China’s version of TikTok, Douyin, was launched in 2016 by ByteDance, a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands and headquartered in Beijing. In 2017, ByteDance bought the karaoke app Musical.ly and relaunched it as Douyin’s global cousin, TikTok. The app’s U.S. arm, which employs more than 1,500 people, stores user data in the United States and Singapore.
In August 2020, then–President Donald Trump issued an executive order declaring that TikTok and the China-based messaging platform WeChat were national security threats. He banned Americans from transacting with ByteDance, allowing 45 days for the order to take effect.
Trump’s order fretted about the possibility that TikTok videos could spread coronavirus misinformation and warned that the app could be manipulated to aid the Chinese government. But the order did not allege that ByteDance had broken U.S. laws or suggest a plausible mechanism by which the Chinese state might use TikTok nefariously.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
‘HERO PAY' FOR GROCERY WORKERS IS TERRIBLE FOR GROCERY WORKERS
“HERO PAY” LAWS, which require big wage increases for grocery store workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, are sweeping the West Coast. Store closures, unemployment, and lawsuits have followed in their wake.
THE PANDEMIC WILL MAKE KIDS OR BREAK THEM
THE COVID-19 ERA has worked as a stress test for parents and kids alike, breaking some while bringing out reserves of strength and resilience in others.
The Era of Small Government Is Over
IS THERE ANY HOPE TO CHECK THE GROWTH OF THE STATE?
Grant McCracken on How To Reengineer the Honor Code
IN THE NEW Honor Code: A Simple Plan for Raising Our Standards and Restoring Our Good Names (Tiller Press), anthropologist, brand consultant to the stars, and past Reason contributor Grant McCracken explores the history and use of the honor code, arguing for its relevance to our private and public lives today.
When the Government Makes Wildfires Worse
FEDERAL POLICIES ARE SUBSIDIZING PEOPLE’S CHOICES TO BUILD HOMES IN HARM’S WAY.
IS THIS A NEW AGE OF CULTISM— OR A NEW CULT PANIC?
THERE'S NOTHING MODERN ABOUT MMT
MODERN MONETARY THEORY (MMT) tells us that governments should finance public spending by creating money.
AN $86 BILLION MORAL HAZARD
THE $1.9 TRILLION emergency spending bill Congress passed in early March was full of items that had little to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ostensible justification for the package.
'THE INTELLECTUAL JOHNNY APPLESEED OF THE COUNTERCULTURE'
A conversation with Whole Earth Catalog founder, Merry Prankster, and woolly mammoth de-extinctionist Stewart Brand
Scott Wiener Is California's ‘YIMBY' State Senator
IN NOVEMBER, VOTERS in San Francisco reelected California Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat, over his opponent, democratic socialist Jackie Fielder.
A rising conservative star on TikTok.
CHINA SUMMONS TECHNOLOGY FIRMS OVER VOICE SOFTWARE SECURITY
Chinese authorities summoned 11 companies including Alibaba and Tencent for talks regarding the security of voice software, as Beijing steps up scrutiny over the internet sector.
Noisy, Ugly, and Addictive
Hyper pop could become the countercultural sound of the 2020s.
TikTok Is the New Radio
“Drivers License,” the latest song to top the charts alongside a viral challenge, tells us something about the kind of music the app rewards.
BIDEN BACKS OFF ON TIKTOK BAN IN REVIEW OF TRUMP CHINA MOVES
The Biden administration is backing off former President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban the popular video app TikTok, asking a court to postpone a legal dispute over the proposed ban as the government begins a broader review of the national security threats posed by Chinese technology companies.
But First, Coffee
It’s a rare day when you open up TikTok or Instagram Stories and see your fave influencers *without* a giant Dunkin’ iced coffee in hand. And for years, Starbucks’ ubiquitous cups have been seen as a status symbol—even considered an actual accessory.
China Comes For Its Tech Giants
The Chinese government’s crackdown on the country’s largest technology companies has raised fears that the industry could be paralyzed or cast into disarray as the economy enters a delicate moment. But one contingent within the tech sector is privately cheering on a broad set of anti-monopoly edicts: startups and their investors.
TIKTOK TIGHTENS PRIVACY FEATURES FOR YOUNGER USERS
A month after federal regulators ordered it to disclose how its practices affect children and teenagers, TikTok is tightening its privacy practices for the under-18 crowd.
TIKTOK: 2 BILLION USERS & COUNTING FOR THE WORLD-DOMINATING APP
With consumers cooped up at home amidst the coronavirus crisis, more and more of us are turning to our phones to fill our time and stay in contact with loved ones. Though all networks have reported an increase in user engagement, it’s the viral video app TikTok that has benefitted from lockdown the most, passing the two billion user mark. But its success poses new questions: how safe is the new kid on the block, and what’s the future of social media?
AGENCY HOMING IN ON SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES' DATA COLLECTION
Federal regulators are ordering Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok’s parent and five other social media companies to provide detailed information on how they collect and use consumers’ personal data and how their practices affect children and teens.