President Donald Trump said tonight that he has signed an executive order to shut down the use of Chinese-based social media applications TikTok and WeChat in 45 days.
Trump cited privacy concerns for taking the action against the social media networks.
TikTok in particular has gained popularity among younger Americans in recent months for its short, entertaining video clips. The TikTok community has often been critical of Trump. Earlier in the summer, users of TikTok organized by reserving tickets to Trump’s rally in Tulsa, which failed to draw the type of crowds the Trump campaign expected.
Trump said in his order that WeChat and TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users -- threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information. In addition, WeChat captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives.”
The Trump administration has complained that the application takes data and is used by the Chinese government.
"All the things that you care that you want to make sure the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t have, we have a responsibility to make sure that the systems that you’re using don’t give them access to that," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said two weeks ago.
After Trump first said he would ban TikTok in the US last week, TikTok responded by saying in a post on Twitter, “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”
Trump said earlier this week he is open to changing his mind if TikTok is sold to an American company.
"But if somebody and whether it's Microsoft or somebody else buys it, that'll be interesting," Trump said. "I did say that, if you buy it, whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess it's China essentially, but more than anything else, I said, a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the treasury of the United States because we're making it possible for this deal to happen."