I can understand why Donald Trump threatens to ban TikTok unless its US assets are sold to US investors. After all, China bans pretty much every non-Chinese social media app on its territory. Why should the rest of the world, including the US, let a Chinese app have a free ride in their markets? If you want to access the markets of other countries, you should also open your market to them – that would be fair.
However, the US move against TikTok is setting a dangerous precedent that may eventually kill the internet as a truly global network (or what is left of it). Before the US-TikTok saga, only autocratic countries like Iran, China or Russia were known for bullying tech companies into selling parts of their businesses to investors with close ties to their governments. It’s not surprising, for example, that Uber had to sell both their Russian and Chinese branches to local players.
I am proud that, unlike Uber, we at Telegram have always declined offers to sell our operations in specific countries. A few years…