Trump signs order to ban TikTok in 45 days, takes action against WeChat

Trump signs executive order to ban TikTok

President Donald Trump made good on his threat to ban TikTok from operating in the United States.

The president signed an executive order Thursday to ban the Chinese-owned short-video app in 45 days if it is not sold by its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, according to a statement released by the office of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

In a second executive order, the president banned financial transactions with Tencent, the parent company of WeChat.

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The ban will prohibit “any transaction” with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, the executive order said.

Trump outlined his plans to ban Tiktok while speaking to reporters on Friday.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order.”

Thursday’s order alleges that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. 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.”

The order against TikTok also claims that the platform censors “content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive.” It further states that the app “may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party.”

The order came after the Senate, in a unanimous vote on Thursday, approved a bill banning federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices.

“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,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

“And, if I have anything to say about it, we won’t be stopping here,” Hawley said.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was expanding the U.S. crackdown on Chinese technology to personal apps, calling out TikTok and WeChat by name, according to The Associated Press.