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President Donald Trump said he will take action as soon as Saturday to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.

Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce action on TikTok.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” the president told reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.

Reports by Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources said the administration could soon announce a decision ordering ByteDance to divest its ownership in TikTok.

Tech giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app. The purchase would be a major win for the company, giving it a foothold in the ever popular social media market. Analysts have said the social media giant’s presence in the US is worth close to $5 billion.

The purchase would likely soothe the U.S. Government’s fears of Chinese spying. The U.S. Military, Department of Homeland Security, and TSA have already banned the app on government devices. Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, an Army spokeswoman said, “It is considered a cyber threat.”

Also, India banned the application early this month after bloody border clashes left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Governments around the world are growing more concerned about the role social media plays in their national security. Russia went so far as to ban the use of smartphones by their military last year after social media posts exposed Russian troop movements in Ukraine.

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, employed 35 lobbyists to ease fears of the company’s connections to China. The company hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as their new CEO earlier this month.

In a statement, Mayer stated that the company is “responsible and committed members of the American community that follows U.S. laws.” Mayer highlighted the launch of the company’s “Transparency and Accountability Center” which allows experts to “observe our moderation policies in real-time, as well as examine the actual code that drives our algorithms.”

The approach seems to have fallen on deaf ears as the president seems intent on following through with the ban.

– – –

Ben Kolodny is a reporter at The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. Follow Ben on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this report.






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Pro-Trump Meme Creator Banned by Twitter Challenges Legal Standing Behind Action

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A pro-Trump meme creator suspended by Twitter said Wednesday that he has fulfilled the conditions to have his account reinstated, but that Twitter is refusing to comply.

The man, a Kansas resident who goes by the online pseudonym “Carpe Donktum,” was suspended from the platform on June 23 for “multiple copyright violations.” He said in a post published on Parler that he had filed seven counter-notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act contesting “the legitimacy of the original takedowns.”

He pointed out that Twitter’s terms of service allow for each strike to be removed after a counter-claim is filed, but said the company had failed to acknowledge his compliance. “Twitter has not responded and has no legal standing to keep my account suspended,” he said.

In a statement to Mediaite, a spokesman for Twitter said: “We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives. The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of this policy.”

It’s time for Carpedonktum to return to Twitter. The Twitter Terms of Service agree.

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) August 5, 2020

President Donald Trump often shared content from Carpe Donktum until Twitter permanently suspended his account in June, citing a video he made featuring a fake CNN logo at the bottom. The video mocking the network featured two toddlers and the text, “Terrified toddler runs away from racist baby.” The text later changed to say, “Racist baby probably a Trump voter.”

He maintained in a statement at the time that he had complied with Twitter’s guidelines and noted Twitter had refused to communicate with him — despite providing statements about the issue to some media outlets. “I have ALWAYS complied with DMCA takedown rules, and I have submitted counterclaims when necessary, but I have NEVER uploaded content that has been removed. I have abided by the community guidelines, and followed the rules. It doesn’t matter. I have been banned for being effective and they won’t even look me in the eye as they do it.”

Twitter has taken an increasingly aggressive stance on content ahead of the 2020 election. The platform in July suspended the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., for sharing a Breitbart News video about the coronavirus, and in May began labeling tweets from the president that it deemed inaccurate or “violent.” A breach of the platform last month also revealed the existence of a “blacklist” feature that could be applied to either user accounts or to topics in the news that the company allows to “trend,” leading to questions from congressional Republicans.

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