President Trump is taking another step to get rid of the social media app TikTok in the U.S.
Thursday night, the president signed an executive order moving up the Chinese-owned app’s deadline to find another owner, or be banned.
The order effectively puts a time stamp on the app’s parent company ByteDance — based in China— to sell the video app within 45 days, or risk being banned altogether in the U.S.
According to the executive order, Americans have downloaded the video app TikTok about 175 million times. It’s hugely popular with teenagers and young adults and now, the president wants it out of the hands of its Chinese owners, ByteDance by Sept. 15 — or he says he’ll ban the app in the U.S.
TikTok released a statement Friday morning, saying it is "shocked" by Trump's executive order.
"We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. 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."
The president claims the app automatically captures large amounts of American user data and could potentially threaten national security.
ByteDance is reportedly in talks with Microsoft to buy TikTok, which the president weighed in on that potential deal earlier this week.
“I did say that, uh, 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," said President Trump.
A possible TikTok ban has sparked a lot of reaction on social media from 7 Action News viewers.
Larry says, “What a ridiculous thing for a president to have time to do, in the middle of a pandemic.”
Willa writes, “The irony is this step is exactly in line with China’s limitation on outside media influences.”
Vince supporting the idea, says “They are a national security problem, just like Facebook.”
ByteDance released this statement in response:
"Bytedance has always been committed to becoming a global company. In this process, we are faced with all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including a tense international political environment. We still adhere to the vision of globalization and continue to increase investment in markets around the world, including china, to create value for users around the world."
The president is also calling for the ban on the texting app WeChat, also owned by a Chinese company.
If no deals are reached in that 45 day limit, the U.S. would be the second largest country to ban the apps. India did so in late June.
Read TikTok's full statement below:
TikTok is a community full of creativity and passion, a home that brings joy to families and meaningful careers to creators. And we are building this platform for the long term. TikTok will be here for many years to come.
We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. 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.
We made clear our intentions to work with the appropriate officials to devise a solution to benefit our users, creators, partners, employees, and the broader community in the United States. There has been, and continues to be, no due process or adherence to the law. The text of the decision makes it plain that there has been a reliance on unnamed "reports" with no citations, fears that the app "may be" used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears, and concerns about the collection of data that is industry standard for thousands of mobile apps around the world. We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request. In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to. We even expressed our willingness to pursue a full sale of the US business to an American company.
This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth. And it sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets. We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.
We want the 100 million Americans who love our platform because it is your home for expression, entertainment, and connection to know: TikTok has never, and will never, waver in our commitment to you. We prioritize your safety, security, and the trust of our community – always. As TikTok users, creators, partners, and family, you have the right to express your opinions to your elected representatives, including the White House. You have the right to be heard.