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TikTok Nearly Banned by Trump Executive Order

On August 6, an executive order was passed by President Donald Trump banning American companies from doing business with the Chinese company ByteDance or any of its subsidiaries - one of which is the popular video-sharing app, TikTok. The order called to ban business with Bytedance in 45 days, which meant the app would be unavailable for download on September 10. However, after a messy series of business deals, bids, and debates, a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global will be partnering with the American company Oracle. Oracle will have 12.5 percent stake in the company, and Walmart will have 7.5 percent stake.

Before news of the new deal broke, Winnacunnet students were anxious that the ban would prevent them from creating, sharing, and viewing TikToks. Senior and avid TikTok user Ava Patenaude said that TikTok kept her occupied during the country-wide “quarantine” last spring.

“I think TikTok gave its users a platform to have fun on especially during quarantine since we couldn’t really do anything outside of our houses or with our friends,” Patenaude said. “TikTok allowed me and my friends to have to still have laughs when we weren’t together by sharing TikToks with one another.”

What seemed to worry users the most was the fear that their saved videos, “drafts” as they are called on the app, would be deleted. Senior Faith Wolpert, who has more than 150 drafts, shared this concern.

“The worst part about losing the app would be all my TikToks I’ve made would be deleted,” Wolpert said. “It’s the best app that you can create and watch videos on.”

Anxiety among creators and viewers alike rose when a glitch in TikTok’s software occurred on July 9. All videos on the app appeared to have no views or likes, even if they had previously racked up millions. Many creators made videos saying goodbye and thank you to their fans, as they thought it was the end of the app.

“I did notice the glitch,” Wolpert said. “I thought it was part of the ban at the time, but when nothing happened to the app after that, I figured that it was probably just a bug they fixed.”

Wolpert’s suspicions were correct, and the glitch turned out to be a problem within TikTok’s software that had nothing to do with the anticipated ban. There have been multiple instances since then where the app has performed strangely, worrying users that the potential ban is looming. Others have stopped believing a ban will ever occur.

“I’m not really worried about it anymore because there have been at least three times where TikTok was going to be ‘banned’ and never was,” Patenaude said.

As for now, TikTok users seem to be safe from the threats of a ban, and the partnership with Oracle and Walmart has quelled the pressure from President Trump to end all business with Bytedance.

Video courtesy Faith Wolpert (@faithwolpert5 on TikTok).

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