Earlier today, it was tipped that President Donald Trump was considering to sign an executive order forcing portions of TikTok to be sold off to a U.S. company due to national security concerns, but now the president specified his plans to reporters aboard the Air Force One, as the Washington Post reports. "As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States," he said.
Trump further stated that contrary to previous reports, he wasn't in favor of a deal that would have a U.S. company buy TikTok. Instead, he would prefer to sign an executive order outright banning the Chinese social media app right away. "Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that," he said.
#UPDATES "As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States"
Trump says he will bar the fast-growing social media app as US authorities raise concerns it could be used by Chinese intelligence pic.twitter.com/PflsGINRbV
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 1, 2020
TikTok is already the subject of a ban by the Indian government as retaliation for a deadly border conflict with China and intense scrutiny by American politicians for privacy concerns. The U.S. has also been in a protracted arc of diplomatic skirmishes with China regarding technology and trade among other issues.
Previously on Friday, sources to Bloomberg claimed President Donald Trump would order China-based ByteDance to sell off its social video app TikTok to a U.S. buyer. Fox Business heard that Microsoft had expressed interest in purchasing.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been looking into ByteDance's acquisition since October over questions of whether the company was censoring content on TikTok similar to the way it does for Douyin, an equivalent app operating solely in China and subject to strict firewalling, and whether user data was being passed along to the central government and abused.
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) July 31, 2020
It was speculated Trump may sign an executive order requiring that ByteDance sell TikTok as early as today. Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business News has floated from his sources that Microsoft is an interested buyer. The Redmond, Washington-based firm's only major social media network in its portfolio is professionally-focused LinkedIn.
ByteDance acquired the app, originally called Musical.ly and owned by a U.S. startup of the same name, in 2017. In more recent times, it has not only become a platform for viral dance and lipsync videos, but utilized by progressive activists to further political causes.
- Gurkanwal Singh