TikTok is not going anywhere

Regardless of whether you think TikTok is good or bad, the odds of it being blocked are about zero. The overwhelming likelihood is either Trump will change his mind upon realizing the frivolity and impracticality of the proposal, or the courts will strike it down, or the ISPs will not comply. I think the courts will rule that Trump trying to order ISPs to ban TikTok as unconstitutional. It is not gonna happen, as much as people may dislike TikTok on moral or cultural grounds (which is irrelevant as far as constitutional law goes). Trump is yet again continuing in his tradition of promising/hyping stuff he cannot possibly hope of ever delivering on.

A likely possibility is that this is another form of bait and switch or smoke and mirrors, the bait or deception being the threat of TikTok being blocked, but as a pretext for something much more harmless. Trump threatens to block ticktock (even though he knows he can’t), not because he opposes the site or to stave off cultural degeneracy, but because he’s trying to extort the parent company of TikTok to relinquish control to Microsoft under certain conditions stipulated by Trump [1], but the perception that Trump is being tough on China is a rallying cry for his ‘base’ even though Trump never intended to block TikTok and the terms of the deal stipulate few if any meaningful concessions from Microsoft or TikTok. Conservatives who are cheering on Trump for threatening to block TiKTok because they think the site is culturally degenerate and believe Trump shares their views, are misreading Trump and the situation. The evidence again shows such threats are hollow and seldom followed-up on. These ‘deals’ are really just corporatism masquerading as tough talk and faux nationalism.

Josh Brown says the risk of TikTok being blocked is a real concern:

TikTok has over a hundred million US users. If the idea that the government could simply turn it off is inconceivable to you, then take a look at India where this has already happened. My guest on the podcast to talk all things TikTok and Ant Financial is Brendan Ahern of KraneShares. an ETF firm that specializes in Chinese stocks. If you haven’t heard it yet, the Microsoft news gives you an even bigger reason to listen and get up to speed.

Yea except that America’s system of government is not at all like that of India. There’s a reason I and others refer to this guy as The Reformed Butthead. America has something called freedom of association , which is protected under the First Amendment except for certain circumstances such as criminal activity, and this is not one of those. Except for certain exigent circumstances, no one has the power to just unilaterally prevent a private entity, that being ISPs or network carriers, from entering into a business agreement with another entity or user.

Given that Microsoft is possibly one of the most left-wing companies in existence, this acquisition will only accelerate the cultural degeneracy, all with the US govt. seal of approval behind it, not attenuate it. Moreover, China being close to Microsoft, is also evidence that all this FUD over China being at war with America or having aspirations to conquer America, are also likely unfounded. TikTok has 100 million US users; a major source of Chinese wealth is from American consumption and investment; does China really want to put this at risk? Likely not.

[1] Update: Those ‘conditions’ being the US gets a cut of the sale, which as I predicted is a pretty weak deal and does nothing to address the national security or cultural concerns. Assuming the Treasury gets $3 billion cut from the sale, and assuming this is not found unconstitutional, neither side backs out, blah blah…, it’s not like anyone will see the money, which amounts to just $10 per American.