Aug 7, 2020 - Technology

Trump issues order banning TikTok if not sold within 45 days

Illustration of hands juggling the Tik Tok logo, the Microsoft logo and the presidential seal.  
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans and U.S. companies will be banned from making transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, in 45 days, according to a new executive order President Trump issued Thursday evening.

The big picture: Last week Trump announced his intention to ban TikTok but said he'd leave a 45-day period for Microsoft or other U.S.-based suitors to try to close a deal to acquire the popular video-sharing app.

"This 45-day delay will give Microsoft and other interested purchasers time to reach a deal with TikTok’s owners that adequately addresses the national security concerns posed by the app," a White House official said.

Details: Trump's order cites "emergency powers" as the basis for the unusual order targeting a single foreign company.

  • According to the order, TikTok's "data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."
  • TikTok has long said that it stores all data belonging to U.S. customers in facilities outside of China that are not subject to Chinese law.

A similar order covers WeChat, a popular messaging app in China sometimes used by expatriates in the U.S. That order bars transactions with WeChat owner Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that invests widely in U.S. tech companies like Reddit and Fortnite publisher Epic Games.

This is a developing story.

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