Trump says he’ll act to ban TikTok in US as soon as Saturday – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

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NEW
YORK (AP) — 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’s
comments came after published reports that the administration is
planning to order China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok. There were also
reports Friday that software giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app.

“As
far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,”
Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from
Florida.

Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an
executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that
authority.” He added, “It’s going to be signed tomorrow.”

Reports by Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal
citing anonymous sources said the administration could soon announce a
decision ordering ByteDance to divest its ownership in TikTok.

There
have been reports of U.S. tech giants and financial firms being
interested in buying or investing in TikTok as the Trump administration
sets its sights on the app. The New York Times and Fox Business, citing
an unidentified source, reported Friday that Microsoft is in talks to buy TikTok. Microsoft declined to comment.

TikTok
issued a statement Friday saying that, “While we do not comment on
rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of
TikTok.”

ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought
Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe,
and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese
users.

TikTok’s fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular,
and U.S. tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive
threat. It has said it has tens of millions of U.S. users and hundreds
of millions globally.

But its Chinese ownership has raised
concerns about the censorship of videos, including those critical of the
Chinese government, and the potential for sharing user data with
Chinese officials.

TikTok maintains it doesn’t censor videos
based on topics sensitive to China and it would not give the Chinese
government access to U.S. user data even if asked. The company has hired a U.S. CEO, a former top Disney executive, in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.

U.S.
national-security officials have been reviewing the Musical.ly
acquisition in recent months, while U.S. armed forces have banned their
employees from installing TikTok on government-issued phones. Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that the U.S. was
considering banning TikTok.

These national-security worries
parallel a broader U.S. security crackdown on Chinese companies,
including telecom providers Huawei and ZTE. The Trump administration has
ordered that the U.S. stop funding equipment from those providers in U.S. networks.
It has also tried to steer allies away from Huawei because of worries
about the Chinese government’s access to data, which the companies have
denied it has.

The Trump administration has stepped in before to block or dissolve deals on national-security concerns, including stopping Singapore’s Broadcom
from its $117 billion bid for U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm in 2018 in an
effort to help retain U.S. leadership in the telecom space. It also told
China’s Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. to sell off its 2016 purchase of gay
dating app Grindr.

Other countries are also taking action against TikTok. India this month banned dozens of Chinese apps, including TikTok, citing privacy concerns, amid tensions between the countries.

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking aboard Air Force One and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

TALI ARBEL AP Technology Writer
2020-07-31 20:50:19

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