WASHINGTON— On Friday, July 31, President Donald Trump told reporters that he intends to act to ban Chinese-owned app TikTok from the United States.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said while talking to reporters on Air Force One during a flight back to Washington from Florida.
He also added: “Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or [designation].”
TikTok is a Chinese video social networking service owned by a Beijing-based internet technology company, ByteDance. TikTok was launched in 2017. It has various global offices, including in: Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, and Tokyo.
It was the most-downloaded app on the App Store in 2018 and 2019. It also gained popularity particularly during the COVID-19 lockdowns, there were 2 billion downloads in April alone. The concern with it is that the app could lead to user data being accessed by the Chinese government, though TikTok has denied this. India has already banned TikTok for these reasons.
Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy TikTok’s smaller U.S. business, but may want to scale the entire company. President Trump also told reporters that he did not support this possible acquisition by Microsoft.
“I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok everyday bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives… We’ve heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We’re not planning on going anywhere… I’m also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day and the additional 10,000 jobs we’re bringing into this country over the next three years… We appreciate the support, we’re here for the long run and continue to share your voice here and let’s stand up for TikTok,” said U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas in a video.