President Donald Trump on July 31 said he will bar the TikTok social media app from operating in the United States.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Trump said he would use an executive order to ban the app as early as Saturday. He also signaled he would not support an American company buying TikTok.
TikTok is owned by a Beijing-based company ByteDance. Trump’s announcement came shortly after reports surfaced that Microsoft was in talks about buying TikTok. This news followed on the heels of rumors that Trump is considering signing an executive order to demand that ByteDance to sell its U.S. stake in TikTok to alleviate concerns that the app is sending sensitive data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
TikTok is the fastest growing video platform in the world and is extremely popular with young people in the United States.
Cyber experts warn that the app acts as spyware for the Chinese regime. The company has denied these claims and sought to distance itself from its Beijing owner, pointing to its American board members and new chief executive, according to the Epoch Times. It says its servers are located in the United States and Singapore, and that it would not share user data with the Chinese regime if requested.
In 2019, TikTok paid a $5.7 million fine to settle U.S. government charges that it had illegally collected personal information from users under the age of 13 in violation of child privacy laws. Federal agencies are currently looking into whether the company has complied with this agreement, according to Reuters.