President Trump ordered ByteDance to give up TikTok in 90 days, and the effort that is latest to ramp up pressure on the Chinese company over concerns about the safety of the personal data it handles.
“There is evidence that is credible leads me personally to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in your order.
Trump’s move that is latest comes on top of an administrator order he issued the other day that could prohibit certain transactions with TikTok unless ByteDance divests it within 45 times. ByteDance is already in speaks to sell the North America, Australia and New Zealand operations of TikTok to Microsoft Corp (O:MSFT).
The order that is new to pressure for ByteDance to divest TikTok, and legally buttresses the U.S. government’s crackdown on the Chinese-owned social media app. It authorizes U.S. officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance’s books and information systems to ensure the safety of personal data while the sale talks are ongoing.
While TikTok is better known for the anodyne videos of people going and dancing viral among teenagers, U.S. officials have expressed concerns that info on users could be passed on to China’s communist government.
ByteDance said on Friday in a reaction to the purchase it is used by 100 million Americans “because it really is their home for activity, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and careers being meaningful those that create on our platform for several years in the future.”
Trump has said he’d support an effort by Microsoft to buy TikTok’s American operations in the event that U.S. government got a “significant portion” of this proceeds, but has also said there are more interested potential buyers.
Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel that reviews deals for prospective security that is nationwide, launched a brand new review of ByteDance’s acquisition of app Musical.ly in 2017. That deal created TikTok in its current form.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday the order also requires ByteDance to divest “any data obtained or derived from TikTok or.ly that is musical users in the united states of america.”
He said CFIUS “conducted an review that is exhaustive of case and unanimously recommended this course of action to the president in order to protect U.S. users from exploitation of their individual data.”
The Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to purge what it deems “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. networks being digital. Beyond TikTok, Trump has also issued an order that would prohibit deals with Tencent Holding Ltd’s (HK:0700) WeChat.
Asked on Friday if he was concerned that the ban that is sweeping WeChat could prevent Apple Inc (O:AAPL) from selling iPhones in China, Trump did not express stress.
“I do what is good in terms of the security of our country,” he told reporters.
A number of major U.S. companies, including Apple, raised concerns this week about the potential negative implications on U.S. firms from the TikTok and WeChat orders. President Trump ordered ByteDance to give up TikTok