President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders that could ban US transactions with TikTok and WeChat.The Trump administration claims the apps could be collecting user data for China’s government.The ban will take effect 45 days after the orders were issued, or on September 20.
The United States has now inched closer to a full ban on the highly popular social media app TikTok. Late on Thursday, US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders. One targeted TikTok, and the other order targeted another popular messaging app, WeChat.
In both executive orders, the Trump administration claims that the spread of mobile apps that are owned by companies based in China “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
In the case of TikTok and WeChat, the orders claim both apps threaten “to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.” The TikTok order also alleges that China’s government has used the app to censor issues the ruling Communist Party believes are “politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.”
Both orders stated that 45 days after they have been issued, or on September 20, any transactions to WeChat or TikTok “by a United States person or within the United States” will be banned.
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The orders on Thursday did not come out of left field. In early July, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department allegedly launched an investigation into TikTok. The probe was reportedly to see if the app violated US children’s privacy laws. In late July, the US House of Representatives voted to ban the use of TikTok on federal mobile devices.
TikTok has tried to distance itself from its China-based parent company ByteDance prior to these latest actions by the Trump administration. Its US CEO Kevin Mayer says TikTok has formed its own Transparency and Accountability Center to show that it is following US rules. He has also claimed that Facebook has been attacking TikTok, alleging that it simply wants to shut down a competitor.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it was in discussions with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s US operations. Microsoft says it plans to complete these talks on or before September 15. If a deal is not completed by then, TikTok will have just five days before President Trump’s executive order takes effect.
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