President Trump signs executive order to prohibit U.S. residents from doing business with TikTok

National

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Washington. Trump said Wednesday he would “listen to both sides” after his eldest son and a campaign adviser urged him to intervene to block a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

TAMPA (WFLA) – President Trump has signed an executive order forcing the divestment of TikTok by its owner, ByteDance.

The order states “action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.”

Any company still doing business with TikTok in 45 days is subject to sanctions according to the order.

Microsoft had been in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok.

The potential deal would be a victory for both companies, making Microsoft Corp. a major player in the social media arena and providing relief to TikTok and its parent company, Bytedance Ltd., a target of President Donald Trump’s.

President Trump on July 31 told reporters that he plans to ban the social media platform.

U.S. lawmakers have raised intelligence and privacy concerns about the company’s ownership. The company has denied allegations that it shares user data with the Chinese government.

Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that authority.”

Chinese internet company ByteDance owns TikTok, which is designed for users outside of China; it also makes a Chinese version called Douyin. Like YouTube, TikTok relies on its users for the videos that populate its app. It has a reputation for fun, goofy videos and is popular with young people, including millions of Americans.

But critics have cited concerns, including the possibility of TikTok censoring videos, such as those critical of the Chinese government, sharing user data with Chinese officials, and violating kids’ privacy. TikTok has said it doesn’t censor videos based on topics sensitive to China and it would not give the Chinese government access to U.S. user data even if asked.

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