It seems the President’s threat has finally come to fruition as he signed n executive order on Thursday, August 6th, banning the use of TikTok in the United States. This will take effect in 43 days (45 from the original signing date) if the China-owned company does not sell the popular video platform to an American company.
The order states that it will be illegal to make “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.,”.
Microsoft was already working towards acquiring the company, but now negotiations have to be done by September 15th.
The reasoning for this order was that the app:
“automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users… [and] 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.”
As early as January military and government works with government-issued devices were told to remove the app from their devices. Captain Christopher Harrison emailed his staff in early January saying,
“Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command has blocked TikTok from government-issued mobile devices. This decision is consistent with our efforts to proactively address existing and emerging threats as we secure and defend our network. This block only applies to government-issued mobile devices.”
TikTok claims that they have tried to peaceably discuss with the government any issues that they might have.
“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.”
They went on to say that the Trump Administration “paid no attention to facts”.
While TikTok is the most well know, China-owned WeChat (an app that sends money between people) has had a similar order issued.
Regardless of what a business, owned by China, has to say, it is clear that President Trump and his administration is working hard to keep American citizens and governmental secrets safe.