Chinese Arabic-language journalist Li Gang said in an August 1, 2020 episode of his show on CGTN Arabic TV (China) that U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing the ban on TikTok, a Chinese-run social media app, because he fears the app will damage his 2020 reelection campaign. Gang said that the ban is political and unrelated to national security concerns, despite what the administration claims. He explained that the app is popular among young Americans who do not support Trump and who could use the app to "distort" the elections by posting parody videos or satirical campaigns. For more about Li Gang, see MEMRI TV Clips No. 8038 and No. 8164.
Li Gang: "Just like ZTE and Huawei, the TikTok app – which belongs to the ByteDance group – has become the third Chinese company to face a ban by Donald Trump’s administration, against the backdrop of the rising tensions between China and America. [They invoked] the usual and familiar pretext of a threat to national security. One wonders: What makes President Trump fear a platform meant for short videos?
"In June, 336 congressmembers voted for – and 71 against – a controversial bill that prohibits downloading TikTok onto government devices, even though there is no evidence to reinforce the U.S. national security concerns. It is clear that the ban on TikTok is a political matter. So is this ban related to Trump’s electoral interests?
"According to the Financial Times, 70% of American TikTok users are aged 13-24. The popularity of Trump among them is very low – close to 27%. Even though some of them are still not eligible to vote, and others do not care about the elections, they are very much capable of distorting the elections using parody videos and satirical campaigns.
"It is natural for Trump to be worried about TikTok’s impact on his chances for reelection this November. In response, and in order to remain in the American market, TikTok has taken several measures, including appointing an American CEO, considering the reconstruction of the company, and building new headquarters outside of China. Will these measures suffice to reassure President Trump and to alleviate his doubts? Or will he continue on the path of expelling TikTok just because it is a Chinese app?"