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Will Trump ban TikTok and Many other Chinese-owned apps?

TikTok has been doing the rounds during the Coronavirus enforced hiatus and made even more popular in Kenya by trending videos from young people. Do you remember Azziad Nasenya? Fortunately, Kenya is not the United States of America, and the banning of Chinese-owned apps in the US is not going to affect Kenyans. However, you might be traveling abroad to go and study and if US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s allegations are anything to go by, then you might need to consider creating social media accounts you will still be able to access in the US to keep in touch with your buddies.

Mike Pompeo recently claimed that some of China’s technology firms have been “feeding data to the Chinese Communist Party”. The word “some” actually means a lot in this scenario. Therefore, maybe it is not all apps you like will be banned by Trump’s administration.

There has been tension between the US and China recently stemming from calls from the US that China is held responsible for not “controlling the outbreak” of the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. The extent of proof that the US has on this claim remains to be seen.  Besides, only Trump’s administration knows what they are talking about. You and I are not necessarily able to have eagle-eyed tech-based means of keeping an eye on a big superpower like China anyway.

So what apps have been quoted so far?

Tiktok is obviously the most obvious but Trump administration has mentioned a few other apps with Chinese links. Tencent’s WeChat is one app Mr. Mike Pompeo specifically mentioned besides TikTok. WeChat is a social media application but it has integrated functionalities too like finding dates, news, making payments, and even running programs within it.

From the point of view of Trump’s administration, WeChat is seen as a surveillance tool. WeChat is allegedly suspected to be a tool spreading propaganda to the Chinese people living away from the country. However, Tencent has seriously come out and reaffirmed its stance that content on WeChat is kept private and not shared with any other party.

India is a good example of such a move by Trump as they recently banned up to over 55 apps that are connected to Chinese ownership. India based the ban on the apps “threatening security and sovereignty” in the country. Besides banning WeChat and TikTok, India also banned Weibo, CamScanner, Baidu Maps, and Baidu Translate, QQMail, and Clash of Kings and Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

Baidu Maps and Baidu Translate are competitors with Google as they are a Chinese leading search provider, Weibo is like Twitter, Camscanner is an app for sharing documents while QQMail is a file-transfer cum email service.

Other apps that are at risk include AliExpress, apps developed by Xiaomi’s developers that are Mi-branded, NetEase video games just to mention but a few


The banning of the above-mentioned apps will obviously create further tension between the two countries. Whether this is a campaign tactic by Donald Trump remains to be seen. There is also a feeling that the two superpowers are rivals on the global stage both in political and commercial terms. This means that either the US is afraid of the commercial threat posed by the hugely fast-growing economy of China or they are honestly concerned by apps that are similar to US-based apps such as Twitter and Google.  However, we should not be quick to jump into conclusions but hope for peace between the two nations. This is because any ripple effects of any conflict between them could be felt by many other nations as we are all connected in one way or another.

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