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Why are some countries banning TikTok?

What is TikTok

First things first. What is TikTok? It is a video-sharing social network owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. It describes itself as “the destination for short-form mobile videos” with a mission to “capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone.” It is known for short videos of 3 – 60 seconds.

The company has grown astronomically within a short time span. It was officially launched in China in 2016, outside China in 2017 and now has offices in various cities including New York, Mumbai, London, Paris, Berlin, Singapore, Dubai, Tokyo and Seoul.

Who owns TikTok?

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company. ByteDance was formed in 2012 in Beijing and was valued at USD 75 billion in 2018. The video app currently has 625 million users according to App Annie (as at the time of writing this article).

Chinese billionaire Zhang Yiming, born 1984, owns about a quarter of ByteDance shares. Forbes estimates Zhang’s net worth to be USD 16 billion in 2020.

Why are countries banning TikTok?

Like many other Chinese companies, TikTok has not been spared controversy in its overseas ventures. The loudest of these controversies emanates from the USA where President Trump promised to ban the app if it did not handover ownership in the country to a US company.

The main beefs against TikTok are:

The countries that have banned TikTok outrightly are:

Other countries that have been tough on TikTok include the USA which is concerned about data mining and security, and Malaysia. The Trump administration is trying to force TikTok to sale its USA operations to an American company with Oracle being in the frontline to acquire the video app.

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