Donald Trump says he will ban TikTok in the US

Elias Hubbard
August 1, 2020

US President Donald Trump has said TikTok would be banned in the country, and that he would he would sign an executive order as soon as Saturday.

Trump added that he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, "I have that authority". Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden also banned his staffers from using TikTok on both their personal and work devices on Tuesday.

"We're looking at TikTok", Trump said earlier Friday.

James Lewis, head of the technology policy programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he believes the security risk of using TikTok is "close to zero" but that ByteDance could face pressure from China to engage in censorship. "We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok".

TikTok's worldwide growth began when Beijing-based media and entertainment giant ByteDance bought Musical.ly, a Chinese company which had United States operations, in 2017, and merged it with its own app the following year.

Microsoft is now negotiating the purchase of TikTok's U.S. business, sources familiar with the matter told the New York Times.

Microsoft and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

ByteDance launched the Tik Tok app back in 2017, before purchasing musica.ly, a video service that is popular among teenagers in Europe and the U.S.

Critics of TikTok worry that the data it collects on its United States users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, though TikTok has said it stores its data outside of China and that it would resist any attempts by Beijing to seize the information.

The Chinese video-sharing social networking service hasn't just triggered fear among Republicans. We're maybe banning TikTok.

TikTok's fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and United States tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a potential threat.

The platform has hundreds of employees in the USA and recently hired Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive, as chief executive, according to the Post.

Chinese law can compel any domestic company to hand over data it has collected on users. As TikTok became more popular, U.S. officials grew concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use the app to gain data on USA citizens.

USA national-security officials have been reviewing the Musical.ly acquisition in recent months, while the United States armed forces have banned their employees from installing TikTok on government-issued phones. It also told China's Beijing Kunlun Tech Co.to sell off its 2016 purchase of gay dating app Grindr.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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