Trump threatens to ban TikTok in the U.S.: ‘I have that authority’
'We're not planning on going anywhere,' TikTok's U.S. head responds in a Saturday morning post
President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he plans to ban the increasingly popular TikTok social media app in the United States.
CNN reports that he made the statement while flying on Air Force One.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” the president said, stating an executive order could be coming as early as Saturday.
It is, however, uncertain if such as ban is possible.
“Well, I have that authority,” Trump claimed.
TikTok is owned and operated by Chinese company ByteDance. Trump’s criticism of the company also comes amid renewed rhetoric against China and the country’s trade practices.
TikTok, through U.S. head, issued a response Saturday morning to Trump’s wishes to outlaw the application.
“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas said in a TikTok post that was also shared to Twitter — the president’s preferred social platform.
Pappas highlighted that 1,500 American employees work for the app and that the company plans to higher 10,000 more in the country over the next three years.
News also broke later Friday that software giant Microsoft is interested in acquiring the video platform. The potential purchase comes as the Trump administration pressures ByteDance to divest TikTok, a byproduct of the company’s 2017 purchase of Musical.ly, the New York Times reports.
TikTok gained fame for being a platform that users can create and release short-form videos, chiefly comedy or music-related content. The app was downloaded more than 315 million times between January and March, alone.
However, it has been the subject of national security concerns from lawmakers in Washington.
CNN reported last year that the metadata and other informational data from its users may be subject to being reported to the Chinese government, which has prompted politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, to request investigations by the U.S. intelligence community.
Both senators allege it could be used “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok stated in 2019 that all user data from American users are stored in the United States and other countries.
“Our data centers are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law,” the company stated. “Further, we have a dedicated technical team focused on adhering to robust cybersecurity policies, and data privacy and security practices.”
The timing of Trump’s push to ban TikTok is curious, however. According to the New York Times, various users of the app disclosed that they used the app as a method to sabotage the Trump campaign’s June rally in Tulsa, Okla.
Several users posted videos to rally others to RSVP for the rally with no attention of going to ensure a low turnout. The President’s campaign claimed over 2 million people applied for tickets, but only 6,200 people were in attendance at the 19,000-seat venue.
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