Donald Trump orders TikTok to sell US operations in 90 days
US President Donald Trump has given TikTok three months to sell its operations in the United States.
Mr Trump signed an executive order last week ordering sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok, ByteDance, saying they are a threat to national security, foreign policy and the economy.
The company has 90 days to divest itself of any assets used to support TikTok in the US.
It comes after Mr Trump announced he would ‘ban’ TikTok in the US two weeks ago.
His new order said there is ‘credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States’.
Mr Trump has also ordered ByteDance to divest itself of ‘any data obtained or derived’ from TikTok users in the US. The orders also apply to messaging app WeChat, which is also owned by the Chinese company.
It remains unclear what this would mean for the app’s 100 million users in the US, many of them teenagers or young adults who use it to post and watch short videos.
Microsoft is in talks to buy parts of TikTok.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Mr Trump’s earlier TikTok and WeChat orders, telling reporters he was exercising his emergency authority under a 1977 law enabling the president to regulate international commerce to address unusual threats.
She said: ‘The administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber threats and these apps collect significant amounts of private data on users.’
TikTok said it spent nearly a year trying to engage in ‘good faith’ with the US government to address these concerns.
The company said: ‘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 US president previously said the ban would ‘get back at China’ for the coronavirus pandemic.
The app hit the headlines in June after its users – most of whom are in their teens and early 20s – tried to sabotage Mr Trump’s first post-pandemic rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by requesting tickets they had no intention of using.
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