Washington, 7 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday which will ban all US citizens from carrying out transactions with ByteDance, the China-based parent company of TikTok, beginning in 45 days.
The order comes as Microsoft is considering buying the US wing of TikTok’s operations from ByteDance and has set a 45-day timeline for the deal, in a move that Trump has backed.
The executive order seemed to aim to either force a sale to a US company or lead to a ban on the app in the US.
The order deemed TikTok a “threat” to national security, and cited automatic data collection by the popular video-focused social media app.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” the order said. “The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”
Trump told reporters on Monday in the White House that, without a sale to a “secure” US company, TikTok “will be out of business in the United States.” Trump threatened last week to ban the app outright, until the Microsoft option emerged.
The president also insisted the deal with Microsoft should lead to a financial windfall for the US Treasury, without offering more details, and raising eyebrows in Washington.
TikTok allows users to create short videos – often with some basic effects and music – and has become increasingly popular, particularly among a younger demographic.
The military has already banned its use and Congress is passing legislation to ban federal workers from downloading it onto their official devices.
Trump also signed a second executive order with similar rules for WeChat, another Chinese app which is very popular in China’s mainland and other countries but has a limited audience in the US.
TikTik says it does not officially operate in mainland China and has insisted that while it has a large operation in Beijing it has a US chief executive and is strongly tied to the country.