Friday saw new developments in the situation with social media app TikTok.
President Donald Trump has now ordered ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to divest itself of all assets used to support the app in the United States, as well as all U.S. user data.
The order has been given
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump explained in the executive order.
The order, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, “directs ByteDance to divest all interests and rights in any assets or property used to enable or support the operation of TikTok in the United States, and any data obtained or derived from TikTok or Musical.ly users in the United States.”
Mnuchin explained that this order was recommended by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) after conducting an exhaustive review of the situation. The committee said Mnuchin deemed such action necessary so as “to protect U.S. users from the exploitation of their personal data.”
A threat to national security
This all comes after President Trump last week banned transactions between United States companies and TikTok’s parent company. That order is set to go into effect 45 days from its signing.
Trump said that “aggressive action against the owners of TikTok” is needed “to protect our national security.” The president has stated that TikTok may be used by the Chinese government for disinformation campaigns.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated this past Thursday that the Trump “administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber threats and these apps collect significant amounts of private data on users,” that McEnany said the Chinese government can access and use.
So, now ByteDance has 90 days to sell TikTok. The company has previously been in talks with Microsoft, and President Trump has given his tentative approval to a deal that would have Microsoft acquiring TikTok.
It is unclear where those talks currently stand.
Following Trump’s latest executive order, TikTok released a statement saying, “We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”