US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning transactions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
The executive order says that the United States “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”
Under the order, from 45 days, any American transaction with ByteDance will be prohibited.
TikTok denies accusations that it is being monitored or sharing data with the Chinese government.
On Thursday evening, he released a follow-up executive order taking similar action to ban WeChat, an app owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.
Qu’a dit Trump?
In both decrees, he said he found that “additional measures must be taken to address the national emergency regarding the supply chain of information and communications technologies and services.”
He adds, “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States. ”
He calls both applications a “threat”.
Mr Trump said that TikTok’s data collection could allow China to track U.S. government employees and collect personal information for the purpose of blackmail, or to conduct corporate espionage.
He noted that reports indicate that TikTok censors content deemed politically sensitive, such as protests in Hong Kong and Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority.
The US president said the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (which oversees the screening of US airports) and the US military have already banned TikTok on government phones.
What is TikTok?
The fast-growing app – which has up to 80 million monthly active users in America – has exploded in popularity in recent years, mostly with those under the age of 20.
They use the app to share 15-second videos which often involve lip-syncing with songs, comedic routines, and unusual editing tips.
These videos are then made available to subscribers and outsiders. By default, all accounts are public, although users can limit downloads to an approved list of contacts.
TikTok also allows private messages to be sent, but this functionality is limited to “friends”.
The app is said to have around 800 million active monthly users, with its largest markets expanding to the United States and India.
Although, as Mr. Trump notes in his executive order, India has already blocked TikTok, as well as other Chinese apps.
Australia, which has already banned Huawei and telecommunications equipment maker ZTE, is also considering banning TikTok.