President Donald Trump has threatened that he will ban fast-growing video app TikTok from the United States as the country’s authorities have raised concerns the service could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.
US officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have voiced fears of the popular social media platform being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese government.
Earlier on Friday, media reports claimed hat Trump would require the US operations of the app be divested from its Chinese parent firm ByteDance, but the president announced a ban.
However, Trump while speaking to reporters on Air Force One, said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or an executive order. However, it was unclear how such a move may be enforced.
“Well, I have that authority,” he added. Trump called the decision “severance” and firmly rejected the reported deal involving Microsoft buying the app. TikTok, especially popular with young audiences, has an estimated billion users worldwide. An estimated 65 million to 80 million users in the United States have been reported alone.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the administration was “looking at” banning the app in the US. TikTok declined to comment on the reports of the forced sales, saying only: “We are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.
“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform.”
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