Donald Trump

How the forced sale of TikTok could splinter the internet

And then, sure enough, on Friday evening Trump — citing the results of a review by the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS — ordered ByteDance to divest itself of TikTok and any data it had gathered on Americans.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance,” which merged TikTok with the American lip-sync app in 2018, “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Mr. Trump wrote in an executive order issued at 7:45 p.m.

That Trump’s decision appears to have been influenced by a recent stunt in which TikTok users registered en masse for one of his rallies and then no-showed only underscores the dangers of having national tech policy set by a thin-skinned strongman.

Despite a recent and noble offer to open up its algorithms for inspection , ByteDance suffers from the strong (and, I believe, justified) belief that the company could not withstand any serious effort from the Chinese government to obtain and misuse American user data — or use it as a channel to manipulate our public discourse.

Microsoft has utterly abased itself in its public actions to date , bizarrely promising to make a contribution to the US Treasury in order to secure the deal.

According to research from the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs, there have been more than 150,000 instances of people sharing, discussing, or promoting misinformation online related to Harris in the past week.

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