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Trump signs executive order to ban TikTok

Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

President Donald Trump made good on his threat to ban TikTok on Thursday, issuing an executive order that will bar the wildly popular video app's parent company, ByteDance, from conducting business transactions with other American companies beginning in 45 days.

A separate order bans business transactions involving WeChat, a popular communications and commerce app owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent.

The orders come after the Trump administration deemed apps from Chinese software companies national security threats, warning that they could put American data in danger.

"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," reads the text of the TikTok order.

TikTok has said it has not and will not give information to the Chinese government. TikTok said its U.S. user information is stored in the U.S. and backed up in Singapore.

The executive order is a blow to TikTok, which has achieved massive global growth as people looked for ways to be entertained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Music artists have used TikTok to promote their songs; talent agencies check out the videos for rising talent; and young video creators in L.A. have made tens of thousands of dollars each month through brand deals on TikTok.

 

TikTok is in the process of exploring a deal to have its U.S. operations bought by Microsoft. Trump has said he is open to such a deal if some of the proceeds go to the U.S. Treasury.

TikTok employs about 1,500 people in the U.S. and plans to add 10,000 more over the next three years. Its largest U.S. office is in Culver City, Calif. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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