Trump Signs Executive Order To Ban TikTok And Wechat
President Trump made good on his threat to ban TikTok on Thursday, issuing an executive order that will bar the wildly popular video app’s parent company, ByteDance, from conducting business transactions with other American companies beginning in 45 days.
A separate order bans business transactions involving WeChat, a popular communications and commerce app owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent according to Yahoo News.
The orders come after the Trump administration deemed apps from Chinese software companies national security threats, warning that they could put Americans’ privacy in danger.
TikTok has said it has not and will not give information to the Chinese government. It said its U.S. user information is stored in the U.S. and backed up in Singapore.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a media briefing Thursday that the Trump administration’s actions against Chinese apps were “typical hegemonic behavior that runs against market principles and international trade rules” and an attempt to maintain high tech monopoly.
The executive order is a blow to TikTok, which has achieved massive global growth as people looked for ways to be entertained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Music artists have used TikTok to promote their songs; talent agencies check out the videos for rising talent, and young video creators in L.A. have made tens of thousands of dollars each month through brand deals on TikTok.
However, TikTok is in the process of exploring a deal to sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft. Trump has said he is open to such a deal as long as some of the proceeds go to the U.S. Treasury, a condition that raises legal questions.
Responding to the Trump administration’s intensifying rhetoric, the company recently said it will open a transparency and accountability center in Culver City later this year where outside experts can view its content moderation policies and see the code that powers its algorithms.