President Donald Trump said he will take action as soon as Saturday to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.
Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce action on TikTok.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” the president told reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.
Tech giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app. The purchase would be a major win for the company, giving it a foothold in the ever popular social media market. Analysts have said the social media giant’s presence in the US is worth close to $5 billion.
The purchase would likely soothe the U.S. Government’s fears of Chinese spying. The U.S. Military, Department of Homeland Security, and TSA have already banned the app on government devices. Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, an Army spokeswoman said, “It is considered a cyber threat.”
Also, India banned the application early this month after bloody border clashes left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Governments around the world are growing more concerned about the role social media plays in their national security. Russia went so far as to ban the use of smartphones by their military last year after social media posts exposed Russian troop movements in Ukraine.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, employed 35 lobbyists to ease fears of the company’s connections to China. The company hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as their new CEO earlier this month.
In a statement, Mayer stated that the company is “responsible and committed members of the American community that follows U.S. laws.” Mayer highlighted the launch of the company’s “Transparency and Accountability Center” which allows experts to “observe our moderation policies in real-time, as well as examine the actual code that drives our algorithms.”
The approach seems to have fallen on deaf ears as the president seems intent on following through with the ban.
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