Trump signs order to address ‘threat’ of TikTok

Trump signs order to address 'threat' of TikTok
Trump vowed to shut down TikTok in the US. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: An executive order has been signed by US President Donald Trump to ban transactions with ByteDance, the parent company of Tiktok.

The US “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security”, the executive order says.

according to the order, beginning in 45 days, any US transaction with ByteDance will be prohibited.

TikTok denies accusations it shares data with the Chinese government or controlled by the government.

The US president also issued a follow-up executive order on Thursday night, taking similar action to ban WeChat, an app owned by China-based tech giant Tencent.

What did Trump say?

In both executive orders, Mr Trump says he has found “additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain”.

“The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” he adds.

The President refers to both TikTok and WeChat as a “threat”. Both executive orders say any unspecified “transactions” with the apps’ Chinese owners or their subsidiaries will be “prohibited”.

The orders cite legal authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act.

The text of Mr Trump’s order says TikTok’s data collection could allow China to track US government employees and gather personal information to carry out corporate espionage and for blackmail.

Mr Trump notes that reports indicate TikTok censors content deemed politically sensitive, such as Beijing’s treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority and protests in Hong Kong.

The US president says the Department of Homeland Security, the US Armed Forces and the Transportation Security Administration (which oversees US airport screening) have already banned TikTok on government phones.

Tencent and ByteDance have declined so far to comment.

Since the US President vowed last Friday to ban TikTok, tech giant Microsoft has said it is in talks to acquire the Chinese app’s US operations.

This week, Mr Trump said that he would support the sale to Microsoft as long as the US government received a “substantial portion” of the sales price.

But he warned he would ban TikTok in the United States from 15 September.

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