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TikTok teachers to GoGo?

Around 4,000 US teachers working online with Chinese students in China have become “collateral damage” in the Trump administration’s trade war with the People’s Republic.

The teachers were working for online ELT platform GoGoKid, part of the China-based tech empire ByteDance, which also owns the hugely popular video platform TikTok. However, on 6 August the President issued an executive order banning “any transaction” with TikTok and any of ByteDance’s subsidiaries. American citizens who break the ban may face fines of up to $300,000.

GoGoKid’s English teachers are anxiously awaiting developments. The US Department of Commerce has yet to rule on which parts of the ByteDance empire will be covered by the ban, which was only expected to go into full force after the November presidential election, meaning it may be lifted if a new President comes into office.

As we went to press before election day, a shutdown of TikTok in the US – and possibly GoGoKid – was still looming. Court action has delayed a ban on the sale of the app on Apple’s App Store and TikTok was awaiting an export licence from the Beijing authorities that would allow the transfer of a 20 per cent stake in the company to Oracle and Walmart in the US.

Image courtesy of Solen F.
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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