While the Trump Administration haggles like a broker over the future of TikTok, the Commerce Department said Friday it would ban China’s ...
While the Trump Administration haggles like a broker over the future of TikTok, the Commerce Department said Friday it would ban China’s social-media app WeChat Sunday night due to national security and data privacy concerns. This would have been a better way to handle TikTok too.
President Trump in early August issued an executive order directing Commerce to identify WeChat and TikTok transactions that pose a security threat. As the order explained, Chinese apps siphon information from users and can be used by Beijing for propaganda and cyber-espionage.
WeChat, owned by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, is a news, messaging, social-media and payment service all in one. Imagine Facebook , Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Apple News, PayPal and Venmo combined. Unlike TikTok owner ByteDance, Tencent does not even pretend to be independent from the Communist Party.
Tencent founder and CEO Ma Huateng is a proud member of the National People’s Congress. “Lots of people think they can speak out and that they can be irresponsible. I think that’s wrong,” he has said. “We are a great supporter of the government in terms of the information security. We try to have a better management and control of the Internet.”
There’s no question WeChat is surveilled and censored. Last December doctors in Wuhan used WeChat to share information about the novel coronavirus. They were soon arrested and accused of “spreading rumors.” WeChat also censors information about Hong Kong protests, Uighurs and Falun Gong.