TikTok is an app believed to have more than 800 million users worldwide. It was founded by one of the tech world’s most valuable start-ups ByteDance in 2016 and has since surged to popularity. TikTok is the first short-video sharing platform that has caught on with global users since Vine closed down in 2017. The app is filled with shot and snappy videos lasting anywhere between 15 to 60 seconds, and spanning a broad range of categories. TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, was set up in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It was reported ByteDance posted a £3billion profit last year after tussling with other Chinese giants like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba.
Will TikTok be banned in the UK?
An industry expert has suggested a ban on TikTok in the UK is “plausible”, but “less likely” than in some other countries.
The app’s Chinese roots have come under scrutiny in the US amid security concerns over potential ties to the Chinese state, surveillance and other matters of a geopolitical nature.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed on Monday the Donald Trump administration was considering banning Chinese apps like TikTok.
In India, TikTok was among a list of more than 50 Chinese apps banned last week, amid a military fallout between the two nations.
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In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government is currently examining the role another Chinese company, Huawei, will play in the establishment of 5G networks across the country.
The Government is under pressure from the US to end the company’s presence in the UK.
Social media consultant and industry expert Matt Navarra said continued “uncertainty” around a number of Chinese companies and the “perceived risk” of employing them was fuelling a lot of the scrutiny.
He said, however, he felt a full-on TikTok ban in the UK was ultimately an unlikely scenario.
Mr Navarra explained the US may have other motives over its own approach to TikTok and other Chinese tech companies.
He suggested the superpower may see it as a threat to its own well-established social media giants.
Mr Navarra said: “Trump has had China in his crosshairs for a long time.
“And TikTok has become a global hit over the past couple of years, leading it to becoming a credible threat to the dominance of the home-made, all-American tech juggernaut that is Facebook.
“It would be highly convenient and good for Facebook’s business if TikTok’s growth and dominance was curtailed.
“Especially when Facebook is trying to get traction with its own TikTok copycat – Reels by Instagram.
“Is it likely that the US will ban TikTok? With Donald Trump, anything is possible.
“And with the increasingly hostile tone and rhetoric coming out of China from Government officials, as well as other countries, such as Australia, signalling similar concerns and actions, the chances of a TikTok ban in the US grows, regardless of TikTok’s promises and its new ex-Disney, American CEO.”