GIF by TikTok Brasil on GIPHY

Tik Tok Tech Nationalism

It seems the time for digital protectionism has arrived

If you have been following the recent news you may have noticed the debate surrounding TikTok in the USA.

“This announcement enforces an executive order issued by President Trump on August 6, which gave TikTok 45 days to sell its US business to an American company or face a ban.”

However, TikTok will keep running until the 12th of November, which means it will keep running through the US election.

  1. Trump expressed his disapproval of any configuration where ByteDance retains a majority stake. By pushing the deal deadline further out, rather than imposing an outright ban as was initially threatened, the administration is signalling that it believes an agreement satisfying all parties will be secured by November 12 at the latest.
  2. Beijing will need to sign off on any deal too, thanks to new export rules in China that mean certain tech businesses must secure government approval before selling to overseas investors. These rules hadn’t been updated since 2008 but were refreshed last month, semi-explicitly in response to the maneuvers over TikTok in the US.
GIF by Chris Gannon

“The Commerce Department is using Trump’s order as the legal basis to ban any provision of internet services, like hosting, that let WeChat work smoothly in the US — and TikTok, too…”

Not only this…

“US, WeChat looks all but guaranteed to stop working in just two days, cutting off its roughly 19 million daily users from a multipurpose app they use to work, research, and talk to family and friends.”

It seems the clock just hit tech nationalism.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.