Trump Signs Executive Order to Ban TikTok and WeChat in 45 Days

After a weekend of petty threats, President Trump finally issued an executive order on Thursday to ban TikTok and WeChat from operating nationwide 45 days from now unless they are sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies, according to CNN. ByteDance, the China-based company, owns TikTok while China-based Tencent owns the WeChat group chat app.

He asserts the app may be used for disinformation campaigns to benefit the Chinese Communist Party, according to BoingBoing

The U.S. “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security,” Trump said in the order. 

The executive order accuses TikTok of automatically capturing “vast swaths of information from its users,” including location data and browsing and search histories. As a result, it poses a threat when it comes to allowing the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal data and possibly allow China to track federal employees and contractors, the order maintains. It is unclear 

“TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” TikTok spokesperson Josh Gartner said in a statement. “TikTok will be here for many years to come.”

The executive order will also ban financial deals with Tencent on WeChat which allows users to transfer money to each other. A stunt mainly created on TikTok about a month ago led to poor attendance at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Organizers encouraged people to register online for the rally but not actually attend it. 

Microsoft was in talks to purchase the company over the weekend, but has declined to comment further. According to USA Today, TikTok is threatening to take legal action, as there is “no due process” and “the government’s concerns aren’t substantiated since it doesn’t share user data with the Chinese government.”