tech

Donald Trump says he is banning TikTok in the US

Speaking from Air Force One, Trump said on Friday night that he would ban TikTok in the US.

The White House has ramped up its concerns about TikTok over the recent weeks due to it being owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
The White House has ramped up its concerns about TikTok over the recent weeks due to it being owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. (Pixabay)

US President Donald Trump has said that he is going to ban TikTok. Speaking from Air Force One, Trump said that as far as TikTok is concerned, “we’re banning them from the United States”.

NBC News reports that Trump described the action as ‘severance’ and said that he would sign an order on Saturday. “I have that authority,” he added.

Trump said that he could ban TikTok with an executive order referring to the emergency economic powers the presidential role comes with that can be exercised on certain occasions. He also added that he did not support the deal involving Microsoft and TikTok.

Reports of Microsoft being in talks to buy TikTok’s US business from parent company ByteDance emerged on Friday night.

According to reports, the White House has ramped up its concerns about TikTok over the recent weeks due to it being owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Chinese law can compel any domestic company to hand over user data that it has collected.

Trump told reporters earlier on Friday that they were “looking at” TikTok and that they may be banning it. “We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok,” Trump said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has been looking into ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly that happened in 2017, The Committee of Foreign Investment investigates foreign acquisition of US properties for potential national security threats.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, said earlier in July that he had been informed that the eventual buyer taking over TikTok’s US business “will be a one hundred percent American company.”

While TikTok has claimed that it is an independent company that is free of China’s influence and demands for rights to domestic companies’ data, the spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, has “indicated” that China sees TikTok as a domestic company.

Since Trump and the members of his administration have said many times that China should be “punished” for its role in allowing coronavirus to spread to the US, banning TikTok could be a part of this “punishment”.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News in early June - “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cellphones, the United States will get this one right”.

In June this year, TikTok users claimed that they had orchestrated the “lower-than-expected turnout at Trump’s Tulsa campaign rally”, after an effort to reserve tickets that people had had no intentions of using went viral. The whole “plan” was to “humiliate the president with an empty arena”.

According to an NBC report, Trump was “furious” at the underwhelming turnout.