Donald Trump issues executive orders for US ban on TikTok & WeChat by Sep. 15

Microsoft is working with ByteDance to acquire parts of TikTok in the next three weeks.

Sumita Thiagarajan | August 07, 2020, 12:44 PM

United States President Donald Trump has issued executive orders to ban U.S. transactions with Chinese tech firms behind TikTok and WeChat by September 15, 2020.

Ban will take effect in 45 days

The executive orders issued by Trump will ban any U.S. transactions between Chinese tech firms Tencent and ByteDance, which own messaging app WeChat and the video-sharing app TikTok respectively.

With 45 days to the deadline, Microsoft is working with ByteDance to acquire parts of TikTok in the next three weeks, reported CNBC.

Threats to national security: Trump

According to Trump, WeChat collects large amount of information from the app's users and allegedly allows for the Chinese Communist Party to gain access to the personal data of Americans.

This also includes the information of Chinese nationals who visit the U.S..

The executive order bans "any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd.".

A similar order was issued for ByteDance, which is a Beijing-based tech firm, which owns TikTok.

According to Trump, the bans are aimed at protecting national security as the apps may be used for disinformation campaigns by the Chinese Communist Party:

"WeChat, like TikTok, also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive and may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party."

According to a BBC report, TikTok has denied the allegations and has highlighted that user data from the U.S. is stored in the U.S., while the backup is stored in Singapore.

According to experts cited by CNBC, existing legislation in China could allow access to data from local Chinese companies, such as ByteDance, and for information to be handed over to Beijing.

Another blow to US-China ties

The Trump administration wants to remove "untrusted" Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat from app stores in the U.S. as part of a new “Clean Network” effort to protect national security.

USA Today, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the State Department would work with other government agencies in the country to prevent Chinese cloud service providers from collecting, storing and processing data in the country.

This bans amidst rising tensions after the U.S. closed the Chinese consulate in Houston, which led China to closing the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.

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Top image via Kon Karampelas/Unsplash