[Cont. updated: Pakistan ban lifted] 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, 2020):
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.
Update 21 (August 07)
President Trump has signed an executive order that bans US transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok. The order comes into effect after 45 days, which means in the second half of September. The order also puts similar restrictions on Tencent, which is the Chinese owner of the application WeChat.
And in a fresh development, it’s now being reported that TikTok may take legal route in response to the order.
Update 22 (August 24)
Tik Tok announced it’s dragging the US government to court, saying the company doesn’t agree with the ‘national security’ related allegations made against the app.
We strongly disagree with the Administration’s position that TikTok is a national security threat and we have articulated these objections previously
You can check out the complete announcement here.
Update 23 (August 27)
TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive who assumed the role just over 3 months ago, has quit the job. In a note to employees, which was obtained by The New York Times, Kevin clearly hinted that the current political situation facing the company/app played a significant role in him reaching this decision.
Update 24 (September 14)
According to a new report, ByteDance has picked Oracle over Microsoft as its technology partner to manage TikTok’s U.S user data. Therefore, TikTok’s U.S operations will not be sold to Oracle or Microsoft for that matter if the new deal goes through.
Update 25 (September 16)
A recent report suggests that TikTok’s global business will be established in a new U.S-headquartered company in which Oracle will have a minority stake. Like we stated earlier, Oracle will be responsible for handling American users’ data.
Update 25 (September 17)
It appears that ByteDance’s deal with Oracle has not satisfied President Trump’s demands since it’s unclear whether the ‘partnership’ will resolve the U.S. national security concerns. A report from Bloomberg suggests that the discussion between the parties involved is still underway and President Trump isn’t ready to sign off on the deal.
Update 26 (September 18)
The US government has announced that TikTok along with another popular Chinese app WeChat will be removed from Google & Apple app stores this coming Sunday.
For WeChat, more restrictions would be in place Sunday onward, including ban on payment processing, fund transfer, and more (like prohibiting any company in the US to provide hosting and CDN services to the app).
TikTok will also face similar restrictions, but from November 12 onward. More on this latest development here.
Update 27 (September 19)
Vanessa Pappas, Tik Tok’s interim CEO has approached platforms like Facebook and Instagram to help them fight against the ban in the US, which will prohibit users from downloading the app starting tomorrow (i.e. Sept 20). Here’s what Vanessa said:
We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.
Update 28 (September 20)
Good news for millions of TikTok users and fans in the US. President Trump has now said the TikTok deal with US companies Oracle and Walmart has “his blessings”. He further said:
I approve the deal in concept
Update 29 (September 21)
ByteDance claims that it is not aware of the $5 billion education fund which is supposedly part of the deal according to President Donald Trump. With this new deal, ByteDance will own 80% of TikTok Global and the app will be its subsidiary and Oracle and Walmart get 12.5% and 7.5% stake in the company respectively suggests a recent report.
Further, another report suggests that TikTok Global is going to kick-start a small round of pre-IPO financing. As for WeChat, a U.S. judge has blocked the administration’s order which required Apple and Google to remove the app from the digital app stores. More on that here.
Update 30 (September 22)
A fresh report suggests that US President Donald Trump has vowed to block any deals that will allow TikTok’s parent company — ByteDance — to retain any control over the Global business. Oracle also shed some light on the deal claiming that ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.
Update 31 (September 23)
The US and the Chinese government are still at loggerheads over the sale of TikTok’s global business. An editorial in China Daily calls the deal “dirty” and “unfair” and that China has no reason to approve of the deal. The deal is still on the table but all the parties involved have not yet approved of it.
Update 32 (September 24)
Reportedly, ByteDance on Wednesday asked a federal judge to temporarily block President Donald Trump from enforcing a ban on the application which would require companies such as Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores in the U.S. this weekend.
Update 33 (September 25)
A federal judge has asked the Justice Department lawyers to file a brief by Friday at 2:30 p.m. EDT arguing against the injunction by ByteDance which seeks to block the TikTok ban by the Trump Administration. If not, the administration will have to postpone the ban, according to a report.
Update 34 (September 26)
The Trump Administration is trying to thwart any attempts made by ByteDance to block the order which will result in TikTok being banned from app stores this Sunday in the U.S.
A new report suggests that the administration has told a court that the ban must be put into effect as ordered earlier since there is no proof that the ban will cause any permanent damages to the company.
Update 35 (September 28)
According to a report from NPR, a federal judge blocked President Trump’s TikTok ban which would have resulted in the app being pulled from all app stores in the U.S at 11:59 pm in Washington on Sunday.
Further, it seems that this setback isn’t going to stop the Trump administration from continuing with the legal battle. And TikTok will not be banned at least until a full court hearing.
Update 36 (October 07)
A U.S. judge stated that they would carry out a hearing on Nov. 4 in order to decide whether to allow the U.S. government to bar transactions with TikTok. If the end decision favors the administration, it would mean that TikTok will be forced to shut down operations in the U.S. according to Reuters.
Update 37 (October 10)
Amid the ongoing effort to stay unbanned in the U.S., TikTok has received another blow since the app has now been banned in Pakistan citing “immoral and indecent” content in the app according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
Update 38 (October 15)
A U.S. appeals court has agreed to fast-track an appeal from the Justice Department of a ruling which has blocked the administration from banning TikTok from app stores. A hearing is set to take place on November 4 which will determine the fate of the app according to a report.
Update 39 (October 19)
The TikTok ban in Pakistan has reportedly been lifted after the company promised that it will moderate accounts in accordance with local laws. Therefore, any unlawful content is subject to be removed in the country.
Update 40 (October 27)
The Trump administration is now trying to persuade the judge in the TikTok case to give the go-ahead for the administration to ban the application in the U.S. on November 12.
In its defense, TikTok claims that user data is stored on servers in Singapore and the U.S. and thus no user information is shared with Chinese authorities according to a recent report.
Update 41 (November 05)
A U.S. judge reportedly stated that he was unsure if he had the legal basis to issue a new injunction against the government in the TikTok case. Further, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols is doubtful that TikTok will be able to prove that the ban will cause “irreparable harm”.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued an order preventing the Commerce Department from banning the app in the country. And the government is yet to make an appeal. Therefore, the matter could still go either way.
Update 42 (November 06)
The outcome of the 2020 U.S. elections will likely decide the fate of TikTok. President Trump has been all in for the banning of TikTok in the country citing security concerns and has also vowed to “vigorously defend” its attempts to ban the app in the country.
While there is no projected winner yet, if the sitting President does not secure his second term, it’s likely that the ban may be called off. However, if President Trump is declared the winner in the elections, TikTok may eventually be banned as highlighted by a report.
Update 43 (November 11)
Apparently, the U.S. government seems to have forgotten about the TikTok ban amidst the ongoing election. TikTok has thus filed a petition in a US Court of Appeals for it to review the actions by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
According to TikTok, they have not heard back from the committee regarding the approaching deadline for ByteDance to sell its assets in the U.S. Hence, it’s not clear what will happen after November 12, which is the deadline.
TikTok has applied for a 30-day extension but the CFIUS is yet to approve or make any decision regarding the extension according to a report from The Verge.
Update 44 (November 23)
According to U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Trump’s attempts to ban popular Chinese apps such as WeChat and TikTok in the country will “ultimately” succeed.
However, things might take a U-turn if Joe Biden takes office on January 20 since he has promised to review security risks surrounding the TikTok app as per a new report.
Update 45 (November 26)
ByteDance has, once again, got an extension on its deadline to sell its U.S. business. This time, a seven-day extension has been granted to the company by CFIUS which ends on December 4.
The previous deadline was due to experience in November and thus the company has a few more days to consider its options as per a report.
Update 46 (December 05)
The deadline, which was December 04, for TikTok to sell off its U.S. business has passed but ByteDance has not yet made any final deal. And the deadline will not be extended any further according to CNN tech reporter — Brian Fung.
A new report also indicates that the Trump administration will not enforce the order to ban TikTok. This will allow both sides to continue discussions regarding the sale ok TikTok’s business to a U.S.-based company.
Update 47 (December 08)
A second U.S. judge has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on the ByteDance-owned video-sharing app TikTok as per a fresh report.
The order by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols has come in roughly a month after U.S. judge Wendy Beetlestone first issued an injunction to block the restrictions on TikTok that were set to go in place on November 12.
Update 48 (December 08)
A U.S. appeals court is reportedly going to hear arguments in the Trump administration’s appeal of a judge’s order that blocked a ban on TikTok in the U.S.
Update 49 (December 21)
According to a recent report, TikTok has lost 40% of its market to short-form apps in India like MX Taka Tak, Josh by Dailyhunt, Trell, Roposo, Chingari, and Moj Mitron since the ban on Chinese apps.
Update 50 (December 29)
The Trump administration on Monday appealed a federal judge’s order blocking restrictions that would have effectively barred the use of TikTok in the country.
It cites national security concerns arguing that the personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government as per a report. Of course, ByteDance-owned TikTok has refuted this claim since the beginning.
Update 51 (January 12)
Even though TikTok has been banned in India and the legal battle continues in the U.S., the video-sharing platform has become the highest grossing app globally in 2020. The app raked in a staggering $540 million in profit, closely followed by Tinder which grossed $513 million, as per a fresh report
Update 52 (January 23)
The Government of India has reportedly sent notices to Chinese app makers, including Byte Dance, informing them that the interim ban on apps such as TikTok has now become permanent.
Responding to the notice, a TikTok spokesperson said:
“We are evaluating the notice and will respond to it as appropriate. TikTok was among the first companies to comply with the Government of India directive issued on June 29, 2020. We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns the government may have. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority.”
Update 53 (January 27)
TikTok is reportedly close to closing down in India following the permanent ban of TikTok along with a host of other Chinese apps in India. As a result, the company has started laying off more employees.
In a statement, the company said “It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2,000-plus employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce.”
Update 54 (February 11)
Reports coming in from the U.S. can confirm the original ban placed on TikTok by the Trump administration is undergoing further scrutiny with the hopes that things will be overturned.
At this point, nothing has been confirmed yet, but it has been revealed that President Joe Biden’s government has halted the proceedings in order to conduct a fresh review of the national security threat the app pauses to the U.S.
This also means that the planned sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart is on hold, but nothing has been decided yet. For more details, route here.
Update 55 (February 13)
As per a new development, the TikTok ban can be lifted in India as its parent company ByteDance has planned to sell its Indian TikTok assets to rival Glance. For more details, head here.
Update 56 (February 15)
Soon after reports surfaced claiming ByteDance is looking into selling TikTok India to Glance, fresh reports from China are now suggesting otherwise — that no plans of selling the Indian branch of the popular app are being explored.
Update 57 (February 16)
It’s now emerging that despite the fresh review into the TikTok U.S. ban by the Biden administration, the plan to sell may not have been shelved indefinitely, with reports that talks with the federal government are still ongoing.
Update 58 (March 15)
Reports coming from Pakistan can confirm that the government has blocked access to TikTok in the country for being “detrimental to the youth” since “videos being uploaded [were] against the set norms and values” of the country.
More details here.
Update 59 (April 01)
For the second time, Pakistan has lifted the ban on TikTok that was imposed over “immoral and unethical” content. Here’s what the service shared:
We are pleased that TikTok is once again available to our community in Pakistan
to promote a safe and positive community online
Update 60 (April 05)
ByteDance has told an Indian court in Mumbai that the government freeze on its bank accounts in a probe of possible tax evasion was done illegally and amounts to harassment. For more details, head here.
Update 61 (November 22)
Reports coming in indicate that Pakistan has just lifted the ban on TikTok. This makes it the fourth time in the past 15 months after the initial ban in October 2020.
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