Look, we’re not really sure how we feel about President Trump’s threat to sign an executive order banning the TikTok app in the United States. We don’t use TikTok, aren’t impressed with what we’ve seen from TikTok, and acknowledge that it’s pretty much Chinese malware. Still, people are up in arms over the threat, Microsoft seems to be backing out of a deal to buy its parent company, and things are still up in the air.

TikTok, however, says it’s “here for the long run.”

Fox News reports:

TikTok on Saturday said it’s “here for the long run” and “not planning on going anywhere” after President Trump said he intends to ban the popular video app over widespread concerns about data security.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas said in a video, thanking supporters for their backing.

The social media app, which allows users to share short videos, has become extremely popular, particularly during recent coronavirus lockdowns. But there have been long-standing concerns about the app because of its Chinese parent company ByteDance, and that it could lead to user data being accessed by the Chinese government. It’s a claim TikTok has denied.

One Reddit user reverse-engineered the app and said what he found is scary.

Reddit user bangorlol writes:

TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network. If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device… well, they’re using it.

Here’s the thing though.. they don’t want you to know how much information they’re collecting on you, and the security implications of all of that data in one place, en masse, are fucking huge. They encrypt all of the analytics requests with an algorithm that changes with every update (at the very least the keys change) just so you can’t see what they’re doing. They also made it so you cannot use the app at all if you block communication to their analytics host off at the DNS-level.

For what it’s worth I’ve reversed the Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter apps. They don’t collect anywhere near the same amount of data that TikTok does, and they sure as hell aren’t outright trying to hide exactly what’s being sent like TikTok is. It’s like comparing a cup of water to the ocean – they just don’t compare.

For what it’s worth, maybe we’re paranoid, but we don’t trust Zoom either, and everyone’s using it now.

If you’re on the fence about TikTok, know that the ACLU thinks banning it is “a danger to free expression.”

And, for what it’s worth, Harvard student David Hogg’s March for Our Lives can’t believe the president can ban an app but not guns:

A lot of people seem to think that banning TikTok is a way to suppress young people from supporting Joe Biden in the upcoming election, so we can see how banning it would tick off the Chinese even more.