President Trump will be banning the Chinese-owned TikTok app from the United States over national security concerns.
“We’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told a group of reporters while flying home from Florida, ABC News reports.
According to the report, an estimated 65 million to 80 million people in the United States are regular users of the TikTok application, which allows users to share brief videos of everyday activities. These videos are often intended to be funny, provoke a response, or challenge other users to participate in an activity or a dance.
Editorial note: If you have a child in your home under 18 years old, they likely have this app on their phone.
The app is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is subsidized by the Chinese government, which also has direct access to its information.
ABC News reports:
The relationship has caused the Trump administration, as well as lawmakers across both aisles, to accuse the app of being a security threat
The president said he would sign something as soon as Saturday, without specifying whether he was going to act through an executive order. Trump called the decision “severance” and firmly rejected the reported spinoff deal involving Microsoft buying TikTok.
The TikTok company has pushed back on these claims.
A spokesperson told ABC News the company hires Americans and restricts what information they share.
“These are the facts: 100 million Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, especially during the pandemic. We’ve hired nearly 1,000 people to our U.S. team this year alone, and are proud to be hiring another 10,000 employees into great paying jobs across the US,” the spokesperson said. “Our $1 billion creator fund supports U.S. creators who are building livelihoods from our platform. TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
ABC News adds:
Trump threatened to ban the app while speaking to reporters before leaving for Florida earlier in the day, but did not commit to any specific actions, saying, “We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok.”
“We’ll see what happens, but we’re looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok,” the president said.
The Chinese video-sharing social networking service hasn’t just triggered fear among Republicans. The Democratic National Committee also warned members against using TikTok earlier this month, according to an email obtained by CNN.