WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- TikTok and WeChat are facing a ban from operating in the U.S. if their Chinese-owned parent companies do not find a U.S. buyer within 45 days.
- President Donald Trump signed the executive orders stating such bans on Thursday.
- Policymakers have long expressed national security concerns over the foreign-owned apps.
TikTok and WeChat are facing a ban from operating in the U.S. if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies within 45 days, following executive orders issued by President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Policymakers have long expressed concerns that the foreign-owned apps may pose national security risks.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the US government was conducting a national security review of TikTok to prepare a policy recommendation to the president.
The president then threatened the ban last Friday.
Microsoft has been eyeing a potential acquisition of the app — a sale which is now being pressured to move forward.
On Monday, Trump gave TikTok until September 15 to find a U.S. buyer. Failing to meet the deadline will lead to a shutdown of its U.S. operations.
The president also claimed that any deal would have to include a “substantial amount of money” sent to the U.S. Treasury — a claim that was not included in the executive orders.
The impending ban on TikTok includes all transactions with ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company that owns the social media platform,
The executive order alleges that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” which potentially allows “the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information … and conduct corporate espionage.”
The order also claims that the platform only allows content in keeping with the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda and censors opposite views.
A similar order for WeChat was issued shortly after. The group chat app is also owned by a Chinese-based company, Tencent.
The ban on WeChat will include a ban on all transactions with Tencent Holdings Ltd. “or any subsidiary of that entity.”
On Friday, TikTok issued a statement that slammed the order as a “dangerous precedent” undermining “global businesses’ trust in the United States.” The company also swore to pursue all “remedies available,” including legal action.
The company argued, “For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.”
They claimed that “the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Tencent said that the company “is reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.”
TikTok’s uncertain future had fans panicking and posting videos in tribute to the app.
Others tried to get around the ban by using trick servers that make it look like they’re browsing from a different country where TikTok is allowed to operate.
Some pointed out that the president’s threat to shut down the platform came a month after TikTok users reportedly sabotaged the audience turnout at his June 20 Tulsa rally by reserving tickets and not showing up.