President Donald Trump says that he will ban the popular short-form video app TikTok from functioning in the United States, declining a potential deal for Microsoft to purchase the app from its Chinese-owned parent company.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said to reporters while aboard Air Force One.
President Donald Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or executive order. It was not instantly clear what such an order would look like.
“Well, I have that authority,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, people working on the matter within the Trump administration expected the Trump to sign an order to force ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the social media platform, to sell the US operations of TikTok, according to a source familiar with the issue.
The move was directed at fixing policymakers’ worry that the foreign-owned TikTok may be a national security risk.
The United States government is leading national security to evaluate of TikTok and is preparing to make a policy recommendation to Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters this week at the White House.
ByteDance has been deciding changes to its corporate structure and had allegedly already been considering the possibility of selling a majority stake in TikTok.
Microsoft is in talks to obtain TikTok, as stated by the New York Times, citing a person with an understanding of the discussions. Microsoft rejected to comment on CNN Business. President Donald Trump strongly declined the suggestion of a potential spin-off deal satisfying national security concerns.
Critics of TikTok concerns that the data it collects on its US 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 trials by Beijing to confiscate the information.
Cybersecurity experts have said TikTok’s potential risk to national security is highly theoretical and that there is no proof to suggest that TikTok’s user data has been compromised by Chinese intelligence.