President Trump signs Executive Order to ban TikTok

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FILE – This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York. Amazon has told employees to delete the popular video app TikTok from phones on which they use Amazon email, citing security risks from the China-owned app, according to reports and posts by Twitter users who said they were Amazon employees. The notice said employees must delete the app by Friday to keep access to Amazon email. Workers would still be allowed to use TikTok from an Amazon laptop browser. (AP Photo/File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – President Trump on Thursday signed an Executive Order which will ban TikTok, a popular social media video-sharing app, in the next 45 days.

The order, which was released by the Office of the Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, cites the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act as grounds for the action.

In the order, Trump says that “additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain…specifically, the spread in the US of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

The order goes on to specifically target TikTok, which the order claims “automatically captures vast swatch of information from its users.” The information gathered by TikTok “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americas’ personal and proprietary information,” according to the order.

Additionally, the order calls out TikTok for censoring information and potentially being a vessel for the spread of misinformation, “such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”

As such, Trump ordered that the following actions be prohibited “beginning 45 days after this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law: any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the US, with [TikTok’s parent company] ByteDance Ltd. (aka Zijie Tiaodong), Beijing China, or its subsidiaries.”

The order also prohibits “any transaction by a US person or within the US that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate the prohibition set forth in this order.”

Finally, “any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in the order is prohibited” as well.

In a subsequent Executive Order, he took action against WeChat, “a messaging, social media, and electronic payment application owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings Ltd.”

He alleges that WeChat also “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” which “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

Trump has long lambasted the Chinese-based apps as essential datamines for the Chinese Communist Party. He previously threatened to ban TikTok, at which point Microsoft began looking into purchasing the app from ByteDance, in hopes that US ownership in the company would appease the President’s concerns.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the order.

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