Rabat – Amid escalating tensions with China, United States President Donald Trump says he will use his executive power or emergency economic powers to ban TikTok from operating in the US.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters on July 31.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is investigating ByteDance, the Chinese multinational internet technology company that owns TikTok, for harvesting the data of millions of American users.
Earlier on Friday, Trump toyed with the idea of forcing ByteDance to sell off the US portion of TikTok to a business, addressing the issue of Chinese control over the app.
According to the New York Times and the Washington Post, Microsoft was in talks to acquire the company. However, not long after, the President threatened to enact the ban as soon as August 1.
Meanwhile, the popular video app company denies sending any user-collected data to China. On July 29, Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s CEO said, “We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and we have no agenda.
Our only objective is to remain a lively and dynamic platform appreciated by all.”
Mayer suggested the Chinese company is a victim of the growing tensions between the US and China. “The whole industry is scrutinized, and with good reason.
Due to the company’s Chinese origins, we are scrutinized even more closely. We accept it and rise to the challenge,” he said.
US China relations have come to head as Trump engages in a months-long trade war with Beijing. The TikTok ban announcement came shortly after the US slammed human rights sanctions on China for the country’s abuse against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.
In addition, tensions have risen in recent weeks over China’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong and Trump’s accusations against China surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.