President Donald Trump has issued an executive order giving the Chinese parent company of video sharing app TikTok 45 days to complete a sale, after which date any transaction will be forbidden and the app will be banned.
Trump declared Tik Tok a national emergency on Thursday night in signing the order titled ‘Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok’. The order bars any transaction with TikTok parent ByteDance after 45 days from the signing.
Amid growing security and privacy concerns about the app’s Chinese ownership, Microsoft has reportedly been in talks to acquire TikTok in a firesale, and Trump’s order only increases pressure on ByteDance to get the deal done quickly.
Any company still doing business with ByteDance in 45 days will be subject to sanctions, Trump said. If a sale does not go through before the September 20 deadline, the order would effectively bar the use of TikTok throughout the U.S.
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President Donald Trump has issued an executive order giving the Chinese parent company of video sharing app TikTok 45 days to complete a sale (stock image)
The order claims that TikTok ‘may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party,’ and specifically cites TikTok videos that ‘spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus’.
The order states that Tik Tok has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally.
Along with the executive order, Trump sent a letter to the House speaker and Senate president explaining the move.
The letter states that TikTok ‘automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users’.
‘This data collection 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,’ it continued.
ByteDance has denied that it shares data with the Chinese government, and Chinese state media blasted the U.S. response to TikTok as ‘madness’.
Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate with the country’s national intelligence work.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve a bill banning federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices.
Any company still doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance in 45 days will be subject to sanctions, Trump said
‘I’m encouraged by the bipartisan support we have seen in this body to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable and that includes … holding accountable those corporations who would just do China’s bidding,’ Senator Josh Hawley, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.
‘And, if I have anything to say about it, we won’t be stopping here,’ the Republican senator added.
Last month, the House of Representatives voted to bar federal employees from downloading the app on government-issued devices as part of a proposal offered by Representative Ken Buck.
A finalized version of the bill, combining the House and Senate versions, would need Trump’s approval to become law.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday.
Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the report, Microsoft has shifted its view because of the complexities of splitting the app and making it operable globally.
TikTok operates in 150 countries.
Chinese state media accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of ‘madness’ for cracking down on Chinese software and technology in the US
China’s state media organs have fired back at Washington over the crackdown on TikTok, saying the plan to ban certain technologies of Chinese origin is a sign of ‘madness’ in U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
‘Pompeo has uttered anti-China remarks almost every day, and constantly played tricks to intensify conflicts between China and the U.S., and display Trump administration’s toughness toward China,’ state-backed tabloid Global Times wrote in an editorial on Thursday.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday published an expanded update of a plan called the ‘Clean Network’ calling for telecom companies, cloud service providers, and mobile apps of Chinese origin to be kept out of the United States.
‘From the long-term perspective, it’s incredible that the U.S. information industry could totally detach from the Chinese market,’ the Global Times wrote.
‘It would pose a severe test for U.S. companies if U.S. chips, software, and terminal equipment become irrelevant to the Chinese market.’