Trump is following through on his previous statement that he will ban TikTok.
On Thursday, Trump issued executive orders to ban the app and WeChat in 45 days after citing national security fears.
In response, TikTok has threatened to take legal action against the order that states the U.S. will ban the social networking apps from operating if they are not sold by their parent companies, which are tied to China, USA Today reports.
ByteDance owns the popular music app TikTok, and Tencent owns WeChat.
Trump’s orders use similar language against each app. Regarding TikTok, he said the app “automatically captures vast swaths of information for its users,” and therefore “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.” He also said that TikTok may have the ability to track federal employees and conduct corporate espionage.
As for the internet giant WeChat, the order says it is able to capture “personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives.”
A senior administration official told the news outlet that the orders block all transactions related to owners of TikTok and WeChat, as well as subsidiaries. Transactions will face sanctions as defined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
TikTok responded with a public post, saying it is “shocked” by the news.
“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed,” TikTok said. “What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.” The app also said there has been no due process and claimed that the government’s concerns aren’t substantiated since it doesn’t share user data with the Chinese government.
“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the U.S. courts,” TikTok said.
TikTok gained its popularity over the past year, and is deemed a cultural phenomenon with its 100 million users across the U.S. WeChat has been downloaded 19 million times in the U.S., Reuters reports.
Mircosoft recently announced their interests in acquiring the ByteDance-owned app, as TikTok is open to selling the U.S. arm. Trump set September 15, 2020, as the deadline for TikTok to find a new owner.
Better get all your TikTok moments now!