US - China Conflict Over Social Media

There is growing tension between the US and China as the US government focuses on the Chinese online services industry.  President Trump has already  issued two executive orders banning the Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat.

US Secretary of State Pompeo has said the US is looking at banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps and now TiKTok's US CEO, ex-Disney executive Kevin Mayer has quit, complining that political turmail has made his job impossible.

TikTok is a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China. 
 
TikTok’s popularity in the US among the younger generation, has created the  arguments about US Government intervention. And now it is quite probable that TikTok will be taken over by a US company, probably Microsoft or Walmart  This is not thought to be well received in with the Chinese governmnet, as the US will be accused of abusing a very successful Chinese business. However, although TikTok has captured more headlines in the West so far, the sanctions against WeChat are potentially more far-reaching and damaging to the bilateral relationship.

TikTok is a standalone app, but WeChat's instant messaging app lies at the heart of an entire ecosystem of services, making it indispensable in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens. 

It is also linked to the Chinese state.  Its importance in the West lies in its connections to Chinese residents. If WeChat were to become unavailable to US users, this alone would have considerable human and commercial repercussions.  However, questions about surveillance and security that apply domestically are equally present internationally. 

Pompeo's remarks also come amid increasing US-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China's actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war over chinese telecoms firm Huawei's 5G technology.

CNBC:        Marketplace:       Jakarta Post:        NBC:      The Verge

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