Trump Signs Executive Orders To Ban TikTok, WeChat In 45 Days, Unless Parent Firms Agree To Sell Apps


President Donald Trump signed two executive orders Thursday evening that would effectively ban TikTok and WeChat operations in the United States, if China-based parent companies ByteDance and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY fail to make sales within 45 days from now.

What Happened: The orders say that no U.S. citizen or company could make a transaction with ByteDance or Tencent beginning 45 days from the date the president signed the order.

In the orders, which use similar language, Trump administration has accused short-form video app TikTok and messaging app WeChat of siphoning "vast swaths of information" from their users, including location data and browsing and search history.

The order claims the data collected by the two companies compromises U.S. national security by purportedly giving the Chinese Communist Party a chance "to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

Trump's executive orders double-down on the claims of the apps censoring content against the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok also spread "debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus," according to the president.

Why It Matters: Trump has long been considering banning TikTok. The 45-day ultimatum comes as Microsoft Corporation MSFT is looking to purchase the app's operations in the U.S. and three other countries.

The president has been saying that he won't let the deal go through unless the U.S. Treasury gets a cut, but the executive order includes no such details.

Microsoft has since reportedly expanded its TikTok ambitions, and is now looking to acquire its global operations, according to the Financial Times.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to note that Trump also signed an executive order against WeChat.

Photo by Chantelle van Heerden on Flickr

Posted In: GovernmentRegulationsTechMediaByteDancecnnCoronavirusDonald TrumpExecutive OrderTikTok