BREAKING: Trump Bans TikTok, Says He’ll No Longer Allow China To Access ‘Americans’ Personal And Proprietary Information’

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

President Trump has signed an executive order that effectively bans TikTok-parent company ByteDance from operating in the United States.

ABC News reports the company was placed on a 45-day deadline from Thursday—which would be September 20—to sell the U.S. operations or remove it completely.

In the executive order, Trump described the social media app TikTok as a national security threat as it constantly collects data from its users. This information is then obtainable by the Chinese government.

“TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories,” Trump said in the order, per ABC News. “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

Trump later said he would allow the company to sell their U.S. operations to Microsoft or another company. The federal government is expected to get a cut from any eventual deal.

“I told Microsoft, and frankly others if they want to do it, if they make a deal for TikTok — whether it’s the 30% in the United States or the whole company — I say it’s OK, but if you do that, we’re really making it possible, because we’re letting you operate here,” he said on Tuesday. “So the United States Treasury would have to benefit also.”

According to the report, TikTok has been downloaded 175 million times in the United States. The app is among the most popular apps for individuals under 18.

Trump’s executive order comes just one week after he initially said he would ban the app on August 1 and is a part of an effort of eradicating Chinese surveillance capabilities in the U.S. Reuters reports:

The ban on U.S. transactions with Tencent, one of the world’s biggest internet companies, portends further fracturing of the global internet and severing of long-standing ties between the tech industries in the United States and China.

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“This is the rupture in the digital world between the U.S. and China,” said James Lewis, a technology expert with Washington-based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Absolutely, China will retaliate.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded a program dubbed “Clean Network” to prevent various Chinese apps and telecoms firms from accessing sensitive information on U.S. citizens and businesses.

Shortly after this announcement, a TikTok spokesperson claimed the company employs Americans and helps stimulate the economy.

“These are the facts: 100 million Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, especially during the pandemic,” the spokesperson said via the report. “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. 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.”

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