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Trump to Ban TikTok App Downloads Because of Y'all's Little Viral Dances

Illustration for article titled Trump to Ban TikTok App Downloads Because of Yalls Little Viral Dances
Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Getty Images)

Disclaimer: I don’t TikTok. I’ve never dropped it low. I don’t wobble and I barely swag surfed. I did, however, once try to push for dance moves to be named after civil rights leaders or significant moments in Black history, including yelling “Do the Rosa Parks!” out loud without officially knowing what, in fact, “doing the Rosa Parks” was. I also asked a stripper if she knew how to do the dance “handle the hot comb” to which she walked away.

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Point is, I don’t know anything about TikTok other than it is a viral dance kingmaker and that it has something to do with China. Trump also doesn’t know anything more about TikTok, but it’s the last part, the made in China part, that now has Trump ordering Americans from downloading TikTok, the video sharing app, unless TikTok’s company ByteDance can seal a deal with U.S. software company Oracle. WeChat, a messaging app, is also being banned.

According to Reuters, the order, issued Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department, will ban Apple, Google and other companies from offering the apps in their app stores starting as early as Sunday.

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From Reuters:

Current TikTok users will see little change on Sunday and U.S. Commerce Department officials said they will not bar additional technical transactions for TikTok until Nov. 12, which gives the company time to see if owner ByteDance can clinch an agreement over the fate of its U.S. operations.

But this all could be “much ado about nothing” or in my made-up dance parlance, “just another monkey dropped on the mainline,” as the ban could be rescinded before it even happens, assuming that ByteDance can finalize a deal with Oracle.

White House officials are reportedly reviewing the deal between Oracle and other American investors to take over major stake in the new U.S.-based operation setup to run TikTok in the states.

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TikTok has some 100 million American users, which is a whole lot of dance videos, or in my made-up dance speak, “A lot of ants on the dusty molehill.”

Correction, 9/18/20, 1:04 p.m.: WeChat is a messaging app that is also being banned. The story has been updated to reflect that change.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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DISCUSSION

It will be interesting to get the download numbers on these apps for the next 24 hours.  Nothing makes something more popular than a ban. People who don’t even use it will install it just to have it.