Trump issues executive order banning TikTok transactions

Donald Trump has issued executive orders banning any US transactions with the Chinese companies that own TikTok and WeChat, stating that the US must take “aggressive action” in to protect its national security.

The president's orders prohibit “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”, beginning in 45 days.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance faces a deadline of 15 September either to sell its US operations or face an outright ban. After discussions with the president, Microsoft appears to be the most likely buyer of the video sharing social media app.

Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate with the country’s national intelligence work - although companies like TikTok and Huawei have denied any data backdoor to the Chinese state.

“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,” Trump wrote in a letter to house speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The move followed the US Senate voting unanimously this week to approve a bill banning federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices.

A TikTok spokeswoman responded that its growing US team had no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protected users’ privacy.

Earlier this week, the company said that it was working with the US Department of Homeland Security to “protect against foreign influence” and fact-check potential misinformation about the upcoming presidential election.

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