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TikTok is a video sharing mobile application, owned by ByteDance Ltd., that the Trump administration has deemed a national security threat on the basis that the app has been gathering data that could potentially be shared with the government of China.
“TikTok automatically gathers vast swaths of information from its users, including internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search history,” the executive order said.
“This data threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) access to Americans’ personal and propietrary information – potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information and blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
The U.S. ban puts pressure on the China-based company to sell the app’s U.S. platform – Microsoft is reportedly a leading contender, but the deal will be closely monitored by the Trump administration.
"If Microsoft or any U.S. company buys TikTok this will be carefully monitored to make sure there is absolutely no Chinese involvement in the new company," said one Wall Street executive with knowledge of the matter told Fox Business.
Trump granted a 45-day easement for any company currently working with TikTok to end their business dealings, or face sanctions after the September deadline.
The president signed an additional executive order Thursday night, partially banning WeChat, a Chinese owned social media platform that facilitates messaging, social media and payment transactions.
The Thursday night order bans financial transactions with their parent company Tencent, one of China’s largest companies with more than billion people utilizing WeChat a month.
"The United States must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security,” the executive order said Thursday night.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday: “We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from us app stores.
“President Trump has mentioned impending action on TikTok, and for good reason.”
“With parent companies based in China apps like Tiktok, WeChat and others are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content censorship,” he added.