NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump says he wants to take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.
The threat comes as Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the Chinese app, owned by Bytedance Ltd., according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity to the negotiations. Microsoft declined to comment.
It's not clear whether Trump would accept a divestment as a concession. But there have been reports of U.S. tech giants and financial firms being interested in buying or investing in TikTok as the Trump administration sets its sights on the app.
Questions and answers about what's at stake:
Q. What's TikTok?
A. ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.
TikTok’s fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and U.S. tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat. It has said it has tens of millions of U.S. users and hundreds of millions globally. But TikTok has also been a way that millions of people have built careers and made a living.
Q. What would the ban look like?
A. The app would be pulled from the app store of Apple and Google and not function unless used by a virtual private network, experts say.
Q. How likely is the ban?
A. Experts believe that while the ban may seem legitimate, it likely won't come to that, given the pressure by ByteDance to sell its stake and any control of TikTok to a U.S. company or completely spin off, says Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies, an industry analysis and market research firm based in San Jose, California.
“I think a total spin-off or U.S. tech firm acquisition is the likely scenario here so it can keep operating," he added.
Q. What does a ban mean for TikTok creators?
A. Many are trying to move followers to other platforms like YouTube and Triller, an entertainment platform built for creators. Some are trying to monetize through sites like Patreon, a crowdfunding platform for artists, musicians and other creators, says Amber Atherton, CEO at Zyper, a community marketing platform that connects brands with the top 1% of their superfans.
Atherton says teens will continue to access Tik Tok anyway through a virtual private network in the same way that teens access Instagram in China. But she says teenagers are devastated since TikTok is about everyday people where users can discover product demos and other information.
Q. What are the political consequences for a ban on TikTok?
A. Industry officials say that any ban could invoke some retaliation from China against U.S. businesses.
“It could make many companies wary of the U.S. government’s capricious decisions, which leads to instability and uncertainty, “ says Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research, an e-commerce research firm. ”Investors then opt to park capital in more stable, predictable environments. Something of this nature is relatively uncommon. Usually, it happens when there are sanctions or other major political action."
AP Technology Writer Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this report.
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7 Gold Stocks to Buy Before the Fed Changes Its Mind
Just when investors thought that the price of gold couldn’t go any higher, the Federal Reserve added fuel to the fire. On July 29, the Fed said there was not sufficient evidence of an economic recovery to warrant changing their current policies.
Not only does that mean that interest rates will stay at or nor zero, but that the Fed may initiate other actions as well. In his statement after the Fed meeting, chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed was “not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.”
And while the novel coronavirus was certainly a factor, it’s not the only factor. The Fed is looking intently at the collateral damage from the lockdown measures in March and April. Over 14 million Americans who had jobs in February are unemployed. And many of those jobs will not be coming back.
This is creating the perfect scenario for gold and gold stocks. The price of gold has surged over 25% in 2020. At the time of this writing, it sits at $1,953 per ounce. Of course as soon as gold starts to near $2,000 the cries that the rally is over begin.
Are they right again? Maybe, but I’m a little skeptical. Gold always climbs during times of uncertainty. That’s true today more than ever. We’re months away from a presidential election. We’re learning how to live with a novel virus for which there is no vaccine. We have social unrest that has turned into riots in many major cities.
With that in mind, here are seven of the best gold stocks that you can invest in right now.
View the "7 Gold Stocks to Buy Before the Fed Changes Its Mind".