Trump never followed through on a plan to ban TikTok, but India did : Planet Money The U.S. was going to ban TikTok... and then it didn't. We break down the beef with TikTok, and see what life would have been like without it. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Nervous TikTok

Nervous TikTok

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SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
HAIKOU, HAINAN, CHINA - 2020/08/23: In this photo illustration, a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone with a ByteDance logo picture in the background.
SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Last autumn, President Trump's executive order about TikTok shook the social media. The popular app, the order claimed, posed a "threat" to national security, foreign policy, even the American economy.

But the U.S. isn't the only place that's had it out for TikTok. Last June, the Indian government banned TikTok. Just one month later, TikTok disappeared from app stores in Hong Kong. For an app that's full of lip-syncs and spilled tea, TikTok has been the focus of some very serious political conversations.

On today's show, we look at why the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok, where it stands now, and then visit India where TikTok has been banned for months. And we do it, of course, with our very own Planet Money TikTok guy.

(Special thanks to Vivek Gopal and Maya Wang for helping to make this show happen.)

Clarification: In our story, we cited reporting by NPR and many other news outlets that videos about the protests in Hong Kong were censored on TikTok. We contacted TikTok before the story ran for comment, but did not discuss the reporting on Hong Kong. TikTok contests that widespread reporting and after the show aired sent this statement: "We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government; TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future."

Music: "Greetings Programs," "Talk Box Funkster," "Gospel Truth," and "Early Hours."

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