President Donald Trump signed an executive order which will block all transactions with Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok, in an effort to “address the national emergency with respect to the information and communication technology supply chain.” in the United States.
“The spread [of apps controlled by the Chinese government] continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the order reads. “The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”
A similar order has been published for the ban of WeChat in the United States.
In both orders, the president names the International Emergency Economic Powers Act as authority for the move, as well as the National Emergencies Act — effectively naming TikTok’s continued operation within the United States as a national emergency. Such a move is highly unusual, and will likely be subject to a legal challenge.
The President also has the power to force the divestiture of US companies from foreign ownership through the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States (or CFIUS). But doing so also requires a specific process that seems to have been discarded in favor of a broader executive order.
On Friday last week, President Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he was preparing to sign some sort of order banning the app. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier compared TikTok to Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese companies that have been listed as threats to US national security.
TikTok US General Manager Vanessa Pappas thanked the company’s US supporters in a video on Saturday. “We’ve heard your outpouring of support,” she said, adding “we’re not planning on going anywhere.” The company will bring 10,000 jobs into the US over the next three years, Pappas said. “We’re here for the long run.”
ByteDance-owned TikTok has the largest number of users in the United States after India which banned the app last month in the country along with 58 other Chinese apps.
Source: The Verge