What will be the future of TikTok?
By Dane Avanzi
The days seem to be numbered for TikTok in the United States. If the application is not purchased by an American company, such as Microsoft, which is already negotiating the acquisition, it could be banned from the country next month, as determined by President Donald Trump. In a statement, TikTok said the decision was issued “without due process”.
The conflict veiled between the United States and China by world hegemony has been going on for decades. Part of the backstage of the so-called Cyberwar was laid bare by systems analyst and former CIA agent Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assenge. Certainly, the conflict involving TIkTok is yet another development of this virtual war involving both countries.
Trump’s recent decision involving the app, which now has more than 800 million monthly active users, was seen by many as an authoritarian move. It is a sensitive issue because it involves an allegation of a threat to national security, in the view of the US government. Officials argue that US citizens are being monitored and having data collected by ByteDance, a Chinese startup that owns the app. However, it must be remembered that Facebook, Google, Amazon, among other American companies, also have access to user data worldwide and there has never been a banning attitude on the part of foreign authorities.
The recent setback suffered by Trump due to a movement organized by TikTok must also be pointed out. Users in the country reportedly made an act against the president by signing up for a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and not appearing. The images of the practically empty event reverberated worldwide, to the embarrassment of the American leader.
From the point of view of the freedom of American citizens, the ban on TikTok represents, at the very least, a nonsense – after all, the United States is or is not the land of the free (or “the land of the free”), as they cry out in their National anthem?
As the application is used by young people, there may even be a contrary reaction and the social network will gain even more users, such as the mobilization that resulted in the emptying of a rally. If there is a court order determining the shutdown of the service, there will likely be a legal battle, and eventually a defeat for President Trump may occur. The situation is complex because national security and freedom are themes that mobilize public opinion, two basic values ??for American democracy.
Another important point is that, as the United States plays an important role in the global economy, it can certainly influence other nations to make the same decision to ban, or, in return, encourage retaliation against American companies in other parts of the world, especially in Europe. , where Facebook is often sued in EU courts for privacy violations, for example. In Brazil, however, I believe that there can hardly be any consequences for users.
Technically, it is possible to eliminate access to the application from the entire American territory, by forcing local services and providers to block it. This would require a very well-structured and operating full-time task force. Therefore, the chances of a ban being successful are slim.
Governments around the world are following the trail of technology. All States as institutions in the world have long been in crisis for failing, with some exceptions, to guarantee social welfare for the majority of citizens. As a result, attitudes and views asynchronous with the reality of the facts will be harmless, especially when taken as voluntary acts and in the absence of debate and consensus with political forces and powers. By connecting people in a direct and democratic way on social networks, technology has emptied the power previously exercised by specific groups, with political power perhaps being the one that most needs to adapt to this new reality, in terms of building ideas and projects with the population.
Whether banned or not, one consequence is certain: President Trump will come out of the episode wearing out. In fact, today, any state in the world has limited control over the internet, technology. If it succeeds in banning the application, American democracy will be scratched from the episode. Recalling a famous phrase from Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, “being in power is like being a lady: if you have to remind the people that you are, you are not.” Recognizing this vulnerability is essential to knowing the wars that can be fought – and won – and how to position yourself in the game.