[Cont. updated: US, UK, India ban] Will TikTok shut down in 2020? Here’s what we know about Tik Tok shutting down so far
This story is being continuously updated…. New updates are being added at the bottom…..
Original story (from Jan 03):
Video-sharing social networking service TikTok took the internet by storm, giving users a platform to showcase their creativity through a 15 second short video. Surpassing popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube, the app became the most downloaded app in the US, back in September, 2018.
And then spread like wildfire, the rumors about TikTok breathing its last and shutting down on October 26 (2018). Soon as the matter caught heat, the app’s official Twitter handle announced they were not bidding adieu and outrightly rejected the rumors.
TikTok’s popularity story didn’t end there. Recently, a report by App Annie ranked TikTok at the seventh spot among the 10 most-downloaded apps of the decade including names like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype and others.
Cut to now. A few weeks later, user queries about whether TikTok is shutting down in 2020 have once again begun to surface. But why now all of a sudden? After all, there ain’t any smoke without fire.
US Army has banned TikTok
A few weeks back, it came to light that the US Navy has banned TikTok from the government-issued mobile devices, calling it a cybersecurity threat. After an investigation by the US intelligence officials, last month (Dec, 2019), the army initially advised soldiers not to use the app, following which they prohibited the same.
As per reports, army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa shared the app is “is considered a cyber threat” and won’t be allowed “on government phones.” Meaning, using the app on personal phones shouldn’t be a problem for the army personnel.
Coincidentally, ever since the news about the app’s ban by the US army came to light, queries about ‘Tik Tok shutting down for real’ began to populate. But as far as we can see, there’s no official confirmation about the app’s closure as yet.
The official channels or social media handles of the app haven’t yet spoken about or addressed the newest shutdown rumors like the way they addressed them back in 2018. Considering the app’s popularity, we doubt it’s going away anytime soon.
Until TikTok officially confirms the closure rumors, it’s safe to assume that the popular Chinese social media app ain’t going anywhere. Rest assured, we’ll be keeping a tab on all the official sources to share with you the official statement, if at all there comes any. Till then, happy TikToking!
Update 1 (Jan 08)
It’s worth noting that apart from reports about TikTok’s ban by the US army, some other stuff has also been going on. During the same time reports about ByteDance considering selling the app.
However, a ByteDance spokesperson outrightly rejected the rumors saying that “these rumors are completely meritless” and there have “been no discussions about any partial or full sale of TikTok.”
It could be that while supressing the cybersecurity concerns of the app, ByteDance might be silently working on another plan by weighing the app’s stake sale. But what exacty is going behind the scenes, there’s yet to come clarity about it.
Anyway, to wrap up on a happy note, it’s good to see that TikTok’s chinese kin Douyin now has 400 million daily active users.
Update 2 (April 01)
It appears that Tik Tok is down for many in the US and other regions. Apart from user reports on Twitter regarding videos taken down or disappearsed, Down detector also conveys the service is encountering an outage. Take a look at what some users have to say:
Why did #TikTok take down everyone’s videos besides the ones with millions of views hmmm Thinking face
Tiktok is either down, or pullin’ a terrible April Fool’s. My tiktoks wont post, and no one can see my stuff Flushed face#tiktokdown
#tiktok is down and every video I post isn’t being shown to people / when I send it to friends, it shows them that “the video was taken down” this is TOM FOOLERY.
Update 3 (July 07)
Following a skirmish with the Chinese army at border, India recently banned Tik Tok and 58 other apps (the list includes several other major Chinese titles as well). And now, news reports are pouring in that the US could be next in line to ban TikTok.
There were also reports that the Bytedance-owned app could face the same fate in Australia as well, but the company has denied it for now.
Update 4 (July 08)
Senator Rick Scott has also weighed in on the TikTok shutdown situation in the US. Here’s what he Tweeted a few hours ago:
In case you missed, Tik Tok has withdrawn from Hongkong. ByteDance, the company behind the app said they have decided to stop operations of the app in the region. This came shortly after China imposed a new national security law in HongKong.
Update 5 (July 09)
Will TikTok get banned in the UK as well? While there’s nothing official on this, news outlets from the country – who reached out to industry experts – say a TikTok ban in the UK is plausible, although less likely.
Update 6 (July 10)
Following ban in India, and similar situation brewing in the US, ByetDance, the company behind TikTok, has said that it’s considering a revamp in the corporate structure of its app business. More info here.
Update 7 (July 12)
Indian government has asked 79 questions to companies operating TikTok and other recently-banned apps in the country. If they fail to respond by July 22, the apps may be permanently banned. More here.
Update 8 (July 13)
It’s now coming to light that not only countries, but even companies, organizations, and institutions have also started banning TikTok. Wells Fargo in the US has sent out a note to employees asking them to remove the app from their devices. Even Amazon banned the app for a brief period.
The Republican National Committee & The Democratic National Committee (DNC) have also issued similar notices. For detailed report, head here.
Update 9 (July 14)
This report details how users across countries are using workarounds to use TikTok even if it has been officially banned in their region.
Update 10 (July 15)
In the US, White House adviser Peter Navarro has now weighed in on the TikTok ban speculations, saying he expects president Trump to take a “strong action” against Chinese apps like Tik Tok and WeChat. He also called the Tik Tok American CEO as a “puppet” working in the company.
Peter made the comments in an interview with Fox News.
Update 11 (July 17)
Mark Meadows, who is chief of staff at the White House in the US, has said that the concerns related to Chinese apps like Tik Tok are being examined by a number of administration officials. He further said a concrete decision may be taken on this within weeks.
I don’t think there’s any self-imposed deadline for action, but I think we are looking at weeks, not months
Meanwhile, as many as 25 members of the US Congress have urged President Trump to take strong action against Chinese apps like TikTok. More on that here.
Update 12 (July 19)
There were reports over this weekend that TikTok may distance itself from its Chinese ownership and have its headquarters in the UK. However, now it’s being reported that this plan has been shelved due to a kind of economic war that has erupted between China and Britain after the latter ordered the removal of China-based Huawei’s equipment from the country’s mobile networks in the coming years.
Meanwhile, BBC is reporting that the plan has been shelved due to pressure from the US. The report says the US would only allow TikTok to be operational in the country if it completely splits from its Chinese owner ByteDance and becomes a US-based company.
Update 13 (July 21)
TikTok may have carried out front-page advertisement in Australia saying the app should not be used as a “political football”, but that’s apparently not enough to stop the country from scrutinizing the app over privacy & security issues.
Here’s what the Australian Prime Minister said recently:
If we consider there is a need to take further action than we are taking now, then I can tell you we won`t be shy about it
Update 14 (July 22)
After banning the app Bingo over vulgar content, the Pakistan government has served notice to TikTok owner ByteDance over similar concerns. Here’s what the country’s telecom authority said in a tweet:
On complaints of immoral, obscene and vulgar content, streaming app Bigo has been blocked in Pakistan. TikTok has also been served with final warning on same grounds
Update 15 (July 27)
A bill to ban TikTok on government devices was passed in the US a few days ago. The proposal by Rep. Kenneth Robert Buck was added as an amendment to the annual defense policy. More on this here.
Update 16 (August 01)
Looks like it’s now happening for sure. If you are a TikTok fan in the US, there’s bad news for you. The country will likely ban the app soon. This time, the information came directly from the horse’s mouth. Here’s what President Trump said while speaking to reporters today:
As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States
The ban is likely to come through an executive order, or by using emergency economic powers. This comes shortly after there were reports that Bytedance – the Chinese company behind the the app – may be forced to sell TikTok’s US operations to an American company. In fact, Microsoft’s name was doing the rounds since yesterday.
But with this straight talk, President Trump has seemingly made it clear that the US wants to see the app banned their country. More on this here.
Update 17 (August 01)
In a surprising new development, it’s now being reported that TikTok owner ByteDance has decided to sell off its US operations. According to a fresh Reuters report, the divestment move may see Microsoft taking over the charge of TikTok’s user data in the US, and some other American company taking over Tik Tok’s US operations.
The report further says those ByteDance investors who are based in the US may be allowed to have minority stake as part of the deal.
Update 18 (August 02)
Well, things are seemingly going back-and-forth as far as the future of TikTok in the US is concerned. Reason being, reports are now saying the Microsoft-TikTok deal has been put on hold. It’s still not clear why this has happened, although rumor mills are abuzz that this is just a ploy to get Microsoft a better deal.
Meanwhile, here’s what a White House spokesperson said on Saturday:
The administration has very serious national security concerns over TikTok. We continue to evaluate future policy
Update 19 (August 03)
Microsoft has now given an official word on the matter. In a blog post on its corporate website, the company says it’s actively pursuing the deal now after CEO Satya Nadella’s conversation with President Donald Trump.
Although there’s still no guarantee that the deal would happen, but in case it happens (which seems likely now), all the formalities would be completed by September 15. Also, the deal would see Microsoft taking over TikTok user data security not only in the US, but in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well.
Update 20 (August 04)
US President Donald Trump has said TikTok would be banned in case no deal is reached by September 15. In addition, he also said the US government should get a substantial cut in terms of money if any American company buys TikTok.
Meanwhile, state run Chinese media has termed these ongoing developments as the “theft” of a Chinese technology company, and said China has many options to respond if such a “smash and grab” deal actually happens. More on this here.
Here’s a crux of the article in a short video (Disclaimer – It’s an old video):
PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.