President Donald Trump has issued executive orders that would ban the social media apps TikTok and WeChat from conducting business transactions with other US groups in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies.
According to Yahoo News, the orders come after the Trump administration deemed apps from Chinese software companies national security threats, warning that they could put Americans’ privacy in danger.
TikTok has said it has not and will not give information to the Chinese government. It said its U.S. user information is stored in the U.S. and backed up in Singapore. The executive order is a blow to TikTok, which has achieved massive global growth as people looked for ways to be entertained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Music artists have used TikTok to promote their songs; talent agencies check out the videos for rising talent, and young video creators in Los Angeles have made tens of thousands of dollars each month through brand deals on TikTok.
However, TikTok is in the process of exploring a deal to sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft. Trump has said he is open to such a deal as long as some of the proceeds go to the U.S. Treasury, a condition that raises legal questions.
Responding to the Trump administration’s intensifying rhetoric, the company recently said it will open a transparency and accountability center in Culver City later this year where outside experts can view its content moderation policies and see the code that powers its algorithms.
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