President Donald Trump fueled rumors earlier this month by hinting that he might take action that would ban the social media company TikTok within the United States.
As Politico reported on Thursday, Trump ended the speculation by issuing an executive order that will halt the company’s operations nationally — as well as WeChat — within 45 days if the apps are not sold.
“Banning them from the United States”
Both firms are Chinese-owned and critics have expressed concerns about possible security risks associated with their use in America.
Trump told reporters on July 31 that he planned to issue an executive order as soon as the following day.
“We’re banning them from the United States,” he said at the time, though the announcement led to criticism and concerns over whether he holds the authority to institute such a ban. Nevertheless, TikTok took the threat seriously and soon issued a statement in response.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access,” a company spokesperson said. “TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US.”
The statement went on to cite the hundreds of millions of users worldwide who “come to TikTok for entertainment and connection” as a reason to maintain service within the U.S.
“Pursue all remedies available to us”
“We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” the company added.
Concerns about the company appear well-founded, though, and the U.S. Department of Defense has already created a policy banning the use of TikTok among its employees and service members.
The company issued another statement this week, asserting that it was “shocked” by the president’s most recent action.
TikTok will “pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly,” the statement added.
Despite the application’s widespread user base, Trump’s criticism of its China-based owner has bipartisan support. Many Americans are pleased to see he followed up last week’s rhetoric with serious action this week.