President Donald Trump has increased the pressure on TikTok, the incredibly popular short-video application, as it issued an executive order that would basically ban the app in the United States next month.
The order bans ‘transactions’ with ByteDance, the app’s owner – a move that could eventually affect Google Play Store and Apple‘s App Store, which distribute the popular software in the United States.
The Ban to Go in Effect Next Month
A similar order has been issued on WeChat, a messaging platform owned by the Chinese company Tencent. The president issued the orders under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that enables him to regulate international commerce after announcing a national emergency in response to any peculiar or extraordinary threat to the U.S..
“The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the executive order reads. “At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application, in particular, TikTok.”
Trump’s decision comes after weeks of numerous discussions and arguments regarding TikTok. The president had had the application in his sights since July when he announced he would take action against the company in regards to China’s managing of the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in an earlier interview that Trump was considering the ban due to the fact that the app could share user data with the Chinese government.
The administration’s focus then shifted to pushing a sale of the app to a U.S. company, and Microsoft entered into discussions with ByteDance to buy a part of the business.
TikTok responded to the executive order in a candid post that accused the White House of acting in bad faith. The tech giant also said it would sue if necessary.
“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed,” TikTok’s blog post reads. “What we encountered instead was that the administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
TikTok is preparing to fill for a lawsuit in order to challenge the executive order, NPR stated, reporting that the filling could come this week. The lawsuit will dispute Trump’s action is unconstitutional because it didn’t give TikTok the chance to respond, NPR said.
It will also allegedly claim the national argument in the order is groundless.
Executive Order on TikTok
The concerns about TikTok’s capacity to access the personal data of U.S. users rise as the app sees its popularity increasing.
The platform has gotten a new boost from the ongoing health crisis, attracting people looking to escape the boredom of lockdown. TikTok has been downloaded over two billion times, as per research company Sensor Tower, with 623 million downloads during the first part of the year alone.
In a move that could attempt to smooth things over with some lawmakers, the app representatives said on July 22nd that it plans to hire 10,000 people in the U.S. in the next few years.
TikTok said it would add roles in engineering, sales, content moderation, and customer service in several U.S. states. The app has also stated that it is setting up a new data center in Europe and will invest 420 million euros ($500 million) in Ireland alone.