President Donald Trump has announced plans to ban fast-growing social media app, TikTok from operating in the US as concerns are being raised that the platform could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.
Speaking to reporters on Friday night, the US President said; “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States”.
He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or an executive order. However, it was unclear how such a move may be enforced.
The threat of a TikTok ban has been lingering since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned the possibility on July 7.
TikTok is a subsidiary of Beijing-based ByteDance, and critics have called out its privacy practices and potential ties to the Chinese government.
Pompeo also compared TikTok to Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese companies that have been designated as threats to US national security.
US officials and lawmakers have also in recent weeks voiced fears that the wildly popular video platform is being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese government.
The fast-growing app has an estimated billion users worldwide, mostly popular among young audiences who create various engaging and exciting short-form video.
The proposed ban would be a major blow for ByteDance, as the app has over 80 million active monthly users in America.
TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer speaking earlier this week said;
We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and have no agenda — our only objective is to remain a vibrant, dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy. TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.
Microsoft has reportedly been in talks to buy the app from ByteDance, but Trump appeared to cast doubt that such a deal would be allowed to go through.
If the deal went ahead reports say it would involve ByteDance shedding TikTok’s US operations, BBC reports.
India has already blocked TikTok as well as other Chinese apps. Australia, which has already banned Huawei and telecom equipment-maker ZTE, is also considering banning TikTok.