President Donald Trump issued an executive order Thursday effectively banning video-sharing app TikTok from operating in the US, saying the country must take aggressive action against the Chinese-owned platform “to protect our national security.”
The order, starting in 45 days time, would ban any US transaction with TikTok-owner ByteDance.
Trump issued a second order taking similar action against WeChat, the social media app owned by China-based tech conglomerate Tencent. He called for action against a “national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain.”
BREAKING: President Trump just issued an executive order "on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok." It takes effect in 45 days, prohibits "any transaction" with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, and will almost certainly face legal challenges. pic.twitter.com/Ma9XOfYgOB— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) August 7, 2020
The orders allege that both apps automatically capture vast swaths of information from users and that the collection of this data “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
Microsoft said Sunday it is in discussions with ByteDance to acquire the app’s US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations, following a conversation between its CEO Satya Naella and Trump. On Monday, Trump set a September 15 deadline for TikTok to find a US buyer.
Despite Trump’s own affinity for spreading falsehoods about Covid-19, the order also calls out the risk of Chinese government-backed disinformation campaigns “such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”
TikTok has faced scrutiny and growing unease in the US over privacy concerns and its alleged ties to the Chinese government. In May, the company appointed an American CEO in an effort to ease distrust. TikTok has insisted it has not and will not...