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6 Aug, 2020 13:22

Russian 'Telegram' founder Durov believes Trump's TikTok ban will damage America's reputation as 'defender of free speech'

Russian 'Telegram' founder Durov believes Trump's TikTok ban will damage America's reputation as 'defender of free speech'

Russia’s most famous internet entrepreneur, Pavel Durov, has criticized the United States for putting pressure on Chinese-owned social network TikTok and threatening the video-sharing service with a complete ban.

Durov, who is the founder of both the social network VK and the messenger platform Telegram, believes that threats to ban TikTok could set a dangerous precedent legitimizing “an extortion tactic previously employed only by authoritarian regimes,” and ultimately leading to the downfall of the internet as an open global network.

If the US blocks the TikTok, Durov believes it could give the green light to other countries to control segments of the internet under the guise of national security. Banning the application would also ruin the US’ reputation as a defender of free trade and free speech, he said.

Also on rt.com Facebook launches TikTok RIVAL as Microsoft in ‘$30bn’ buyout talks

TikTok is an app for creating and viewing short videos, owned by Chinese company ByteDance. In April 2020, it surpassed two billion worldwide downloads. On August 3, US President Donald Trump announced that a US corporation must buy TikTok by September 15, or the social network would be completely banned in the country. Some in Trump’s administration believe that TikTok is a national security risk, as it holds the data of millions of Americans.

“I can understand why the US government is threatening to ban TikTok if its US assets are not sold to American investors. After all, China bans pretty much every non-Chinese social media app on its territory,” Durov wrote on his Telegram channel. “If you want to access the markets of other countries, you should also open your market to them – that would be fair.”

Durov also noted how Telegram had declined offers to sell local parts of its operation to foreign companies. In particular, he explained how two funds “with ties to countries that later attempted to block Telegram” tried to buy the company a few years ago.

Also on rt.com The clock is TikToking: Trump says he doesn’t mind if Microsoft buys TikTok, as long it's done in 6 weeks & Uncle Sam GETS A CUT

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