Trump issued an executive order effectively banning TikTok if it doesn’t sell in the next 45 days
President Donald Trump is reportedly expected to issue an order compelling social media app TikTok to sell its US operations. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
The new order is the latest in Trump’s escalating crackdown on the Chinese-owned app over alleged national security concerns. President Trump issued an executive order on Thursday night that will effectively ban any US company or individual from making transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the TikTok app, after 45 days.
While this conditional ban on TikTok’s US business operations will likely face serious legal challenges, and it’s unclear how immediately enforceable it is, the order creates a serious challenge for TikTok, a wildly popular video streaming app with some 100 million US users.
For months, Trump and other bipartisan politicians have periodically raised concerns about TikTok as a potential national security threat, worrying that the app’s Chinese parent company could censor content in the US or access American users’ sensitive data at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.
The executive order states that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” and that this “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
The company has vehemently denied these accusations, saying repeatedly that it does not share user data with the Chinese government. But reports last year showed a lack of TikTok content about subjects controversial with the Chinese government — such as videos of the Hong Kong protests . These reports have fueled US government suspicions that the company is influenced by the Chinese government, particularly as China has been expanding its surveillance state in recent years and US-China diplomatic relations have become more strained.
Trump has gone back and forth about how he planned to take action on TikTok. As recently as last Friday, he warned of an eminent executive ban on TikTok . On Monday though, Trump seemed to reverse his stance and said in a White House press briefing that instead of banning it, he would allow a US-based company to purchase the app.
“I don’t mind if — whether it is Microsoft or someone else — a big company, a secure company, a very American company, buys it,” said Trump about TikTok. Trump also warned that TikTok will be “out of business in the United States” by September 15 if the company doesn’t reach a deal to sell by then. Now, the executive order has established timeline of 45 days from Thursday (which would be September 20) for the sale to happen before TikTok will no longer be able to conduct business as usual in the US.
Though TikTok, which is owned by the...