Trump issues executive order against TikTok, Chinese messaging app

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FILE – This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York. President Donald Trump will order China’s ByteDance to sell its hit video app TikTok because of national-security concerns, according to reports published Friday, July 31, 2020. “We are looking at TikTok,” Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. “We may be banning TikTok.” (AP Photo/File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) – President Trump on Thursday night signed an executive order barring U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese company that owns the popular video app TikTok.

Citing national security, the order prohibits any U.S. company or person from transacting with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company or WeChat, which would prohibit the apps from appearing in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store in this country.

The order takes effect in 45 days.

“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,” the order says. “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.”

“TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.  This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” it says.

The order also bans transactions with WeChat, a Chinese social networking app and its parent company Tencent, which has investments in American video game developer Epic Games, which makes Fortnite.

Microsoft is in talks to buy TikTok, which would allow the platform to remain available in this country.

In a blog post from August 2, Microsoft said it hopes to have negotiations completed and the deal finalized by September 15.

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