President Donald Trump said Friday he will bar fast-growing social media app TikTok from the United States as American authorities have raised concerns the service could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.
United States officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have voiced fears of the wildly popular video platform being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese government.
Media reports circulated earlier Friday saying that Trump would require the United States operations of the app be divested from its Chinese parent firm ByteDance, but the president announced a ban.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or an executive order.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said, early July, that the United States was planning action against TikTok because of the threat it poses to user privacy. Several United States politicians have constantly criticised TikTok which is owned by Beijing based ByteDance. It has long been tipped as a ‘threat to national security’.
TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated billion users worldwide.
Queried by AFP, TikTok declined to comment on the reports of the forced sales, saying only: “We are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.
“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform.”
This is also partly due to the deteriorating ties between the United States and China. India has already banned TikTok, among over 100 Chinese Apps that violated user privacy and data security norms.
Microsoft in talks of buying TikTok
In a major development, tech giants Microsoft is in talks to buy the video-sharing app TikTok’s operations in the United States. US media has reported that a deal would give the software company a popular social media service and relieve US government pressure on the Chinese owner ByteDance.