President Donald Trump, a xenophobic racist and failed businessman, announced Thursday an executive order to "ban" Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent within the next 45 days. ByteDance is responsible for social media sensation TikTok while Tencent is a media giant who owns or partially owns apps like Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile and produces media properties such as Wonder Woman. Other companies involved include Snapchat, Riot Games, Epic Games, The Pokémon Company, and Activision Blizzard. Hey, young people, can we interest you in registering to vote?
“The spread [of apps that report data back to the Chinese government] continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” reads the order against ByteDance. “The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.” Uh, okay. How is this different from the NSA or global ad tracking companies again?
To accomplish this, the Trump administration seems to have completely sidestepped the authority of the Commerce Department and the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States and is attempting to draw its power to make these decisions from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act. Both orders focus on the social media portions of these businesses but language such as “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd...or any subsidiary of that entity" is wildly broad and will have massive repercussions on various sectors of the already deeply wounded American economy. This also means that the Trump administration will likely have to prove in court what exactly about TikTok and Fortnite constitute national emergencies.
Objection, your honor — If Tencent and ByteDance take these to the legal system and there is a stay put on both orders — and there likely would be, as this kind of meddling in private corporations and the language being used to do so are both entirely unprecedented — this will still create complications for the already struggling American economy as massive media and technology companies struggle to comply with these orders in the meantime. Tencent holds investments in PUBG Mobile, League of Legends, Valorant, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, and produces films like Top Gun: Maverick, Terminator: Dark Fate, and Venom. Meanwhile the justification being used by the White House is a "national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain."
Common knowledge — One of the orders also claims that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories" despite the fact that there has been no substantive evidence that TikTok, or WeChat for that matter, are collecting data any more nefariously than Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, or various worldwide ad platforms which openly resell such data to the highest bidder.
Rock the vote — These developments will further degrade the already tenuous US-China relations following Trump's disastrous handling of his Chinese trade tariffs and his racist statements on the coronavirus pandemic. Trump certainly isn't doing his re-election campaign any favors, as threatening young people — who notoriously swing progressive — via their favorite hobbies and fandoms may actually piss them off enough to head to the ballot boxes.
Again, all of this is because K-pop fans pranked the President. 160,000+ American are dead of COVID-19. This is what he is concerned with. Please vote.
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