Donald Trump signs executive order banning TikTok from the United States
“At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.”
US President Donald Trump has followed through on his threat to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok in the United States by signing an executive order to that effect.
Last Friday (31 July) Trump told reporters that action would be taken to ban TikTok “essentially immediately”.
On Thursday, an executive order signed by Trump stated that “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property” with ByteDance Ltd., owners of TikTok, will be prohibited from 45 days from the issuing of the order, a date which falls on 20 September.
The executive order details concerns held by the US government over data collection by TikTok, its privacy practises and links to the Chinese government.
“TikTok automatically captures vast swathes of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories,” the executive order reads.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.
“TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
“This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
“These risks are real.”
In a statement in response, TikTok promised to “pursue all remedies available to us” to fight the executive order, which, the company said, came as a shock and was issued without due process.
“TikTok is a community full of creativity and passion, a home that brings joy to families and meaningful careers to creators. And we are building this platform for the long term. TikTok will be here for many years to come,” the statement read.
“We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. 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. What we encountered instead was 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.”
The statement concluded by saying: “We want the 100 million Americans who love our platform because it is your home for expression, entertainment, and connection to know: TikTok has never, and will never, waver in our commitment to you.
“We prioritise your safety, security, and the trust of our community – always. As TikTok users, creators, partners, and family, you have the right to express your opinions to your elected representatives, including the White House. You have the right to be heard.”