As negotiations over the app's future continue in the US, the UK Government is reportedly leaning towards implementing restrictions on TikTok, due to data gathering and sharing concerns, as opposed to following America's lead and imposing a full-scale ban on the app in the region.
As reported by Bloomberg:
"A review led by the prime minister’s chief of staff Eddie Lister is likely to find the app doesn’t pose as big a security threat as Huawei Technologies Co., but may still recommend the government stops the company from moving users’ data out of the country."
Back in July, the UK government announced that it would be cutting Chinese-owned Huawei out of its plans for developing Britain’s 5G mobile phone network. Huawei was originally scheduled to supply 35% of the UK’s 5G equipment, but concerns around national security, and potential exposure of UK citizens' data to the Chinese Government via 5G components, lead to a review, and subsequent banning of Huawei from the UK program.
That decision also raised questions about TikTok and its Chinese connections. At the time, TikTok was reportedly planning to open a new global headquarters in London, which was apparently shelved after the Huawei ruling. TikTok then announced that it was still open to establishing a new UK base, if the UK Government would allow it to operate. The app has been under investigation in the UK for several months.
The reports will be welcome news for the app, which is still racing the clock to beat the US Government's September 15th deadline to be sold off to a US company, or face a full ban in the region. In a worst-case scenario, it seems that TikTok would still be able to operate outside the US, with only America and India scheduling bans at this stage.
The expectation, however, is that TikTok will find a way to continue operations, one way or another. With potentially billions in revenue on the line, and the app seeing meteoric growth in the now notoriously difficult social media space, it seems likely that a truce will be negotiated. Or we're in for a protracted legal battle to help TikTok avoid a full shut down.
Either way, it does seem that we have a way to go yet.
For its part, TikTok maintains that it's not going anywhere - and users can now show their support for such with new TikTok merch stating the same.
The shirts and hoodies are part of a collaboration with NTWRK and visual artist Joshua Vides. The collection will be available on August 26th for one day on the TikTok app, TikTok.com, and the NTWRK app.
As per TikTok:
"We're excited to bring this collaboration to the TikTok community and streetwear fans alike. The collection is a reflection of the incredible support of our community, and we're proud to memorialize that sentiment: TikTok is not going anywhere."
Which will either go down as a statement of defiance or futility, depending on how the situation eventually plays out.
Either way, TikTok is confident that it will stick around. And while the deadline is drawing near, it remains more likely that a deal will, somehow, eventually, be struck.