President Donald Trump has announced that he is banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok in the US.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” he told reporters on Air Force One late Friday and shared that he intended to act as soon as Saturday, August 1. It’s unclear how the administration plans to enact this, but he went on to note, “Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that.”
This announcement follows another week of speculation over the future of the popular app, as its parent company, Chinese firm ByteDance, has been under pressure from the United States to sell the app – with the likely suitor being Microsoft, according to reports.
US security officials expressed their concern that the Chinese-owned app could be used to collect the personal data of Americans. Meanwhile, TikTok has denied accusations that it is controlled by or shares data with the Chinese government. This comes amid heightened tensions between the Republican Administration and China and follows several cases of Chinese-targeted hate speech by the president himself.
It’s unclear how the government plans to enact this ban and what legal challenges it would face. Banning the fast-growing app would be a blow to almost 80 million active monthly users in the US alone.