Can the Digital Economy Survive in a Splinternet?

On September 18, the US administration announced that it would ban new downloads of the TikTok and WeChat apps. Then, on September 19, the plan was halted when President Donald Trump gave tentative approval to a deal that involved the creation of a new, US-headquartered entity called TikTok Global. As part of the new deal, Oracle and Walmart would own a combined 20 percent of the newly created entity; the remaining 80 percent would be owned by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.

While decisions related to both apps have been postponed, the proposed ban — and the deal that followed — raises a number of questions about government power over foreign technology firms, about cross-border data flows and about the state of a global internet.

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