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TikTok Challenges US Ban as Rival Clapper Gains Traction

As TikTok fights a potential US ban, the short-video app Clapper is emerging as a popular rival platform. Clapper now averages 200,000 new weekly downloads.

TikTok has sued to block a new US law that could ban the app unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells it. President Joe Biden signed the ban into law, citing national security concerns over TikTok’s Chinese ownership.

In its DC Circuit Court of Appeals filing, TikTok calls the law an “extraordinary intrusion on free speech rights” and argues the US government has only presented “speculative concerns.” The law suggests that TikTok’s Chinese ownership could allow the Chinese government access to US user data or use the platform for propaganda.

It also stirs up debates about free speech for the app’s 170 million American users. TikTok highlights that similar bans proposed during the Trump administration faced legal challenges and that selling within the 270-day timeline is impractical. ByteDance has no plans to sell TikTok, and the Chinese government has criticized the US law as “bullying.”

Under the legislation, app stores must stop offering TikTok in the US starting in January 2025 unless ByteDance finds a non-Chinese buyer. The President could extend this deadline by 90 days if negotiations progress.

While the US has previously restricted foreign ownership of broadcast media, TikTok asserts its platform is distinct and the US government cannot dictate ownership of “privately created speech forums.” TikTok has invested over $2 billion in addressing US concerns by implementing data safeguards.

This legal battle has created an opening for rivals like Clapper, which has seen a surge in downloads. Launched in 2020, the app reported a fourfold increase in downloads when Congress passed the TikTok ban legislation.

Clapper targets an older audience, primarily Gen X and Gen Y, and emphasizes data privacy and community-focused content. With its main office near Dallas and user data stored in a US-based cloud system, Clapper addresses data security concerns that have plagued TikTok. The app, which has no ads, requires users to be 17 or older and includes features like livestreams and chat.

Learn more about Clapper by going to its website here, or learn more about TikTok by visiting its website here.

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