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President Trump signs orders banning US business with TikTok, WeChat (Update)
Update, August 12, 2020 (7AM ET): The possible impact of President Donald Trump’s orders against TikTok has been detailed in a leaked document spotted by Reuters.
As per the report, the document suggests the US Department of Commerce may ban TikTok from US app stores and outlaw advertising on its service, should parent firm ByteDance not reach a deal to sell TikTok to a US firm.
“Prohibited transactions may include, for example, agreements to make the TikTok app available on app stores… purchasing advertising on TikTok, and accepting terms of service to download the TikTok app onto a user device,” reads an excerpt of the document according to Reuters.
This comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined measures that may be taken against “untrusted” Chinese apps and services in the future, which includes a ban from US-based app stores.
Reuters says the document does not state whether WeChat, the subject of another order, would face similar consequences.
Original article, August 7, 2020 (1:08 AM ET): The United States has now inched closer to a full ban on the highly popular social media app TikTok. Late on Thursday, US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders. One targeted TikTok, and the other order targeted another popular messaging app, WeChat.
In both executive orders, the Trump administration claims that the spread of mobile apps that are owned by companies based in China “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
In the case of TikTok and WeChat, the orders claim both apps threaten “to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.” The TikTok order also alleges that China’s government has used the app to censor issues the ruling Communist Party believes are “politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.”
Both orders stated that 45 days after they have been issued, or on September 20, any transactions to WeChat or TikTok “by a United States person or within the United States” will be banned.
Read: Best TikTok alternatives
The orders on Thursday did not come out of left field. In early July, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department allegedly launched an investigation into TikTok. The probe was reportedly to see if the app violated US children’s privacy laws. In late July, the US House of Representatives voted to ban the use of TikTok on federal mobile devices.
TikTok has tried to distance itself from its China-based parent company ByteDance prior to these latest actions by the Trump administration. Its US CEO Kevin Mayer says TikTok has formed its own Transparency and Accountability Center to show that it is following US rules. He has also claimed that Facebook has been attacking TikTok, alleging that it simply wants to shut down a competitor.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it was in discussions with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s US operations. Microsoft says it plans to complete these talks on or before September 15. If a deal is not completed by then, TikTok will have just five days before President Trump’s executive order takes effect.