Citing national security concrns, US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order, blocking all transactions with Bytedance, TikTok’s parent corporation and messaging app WeChat.
New Delhi: Citing national security concrns, US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order, blocking all transactions with Bytedance, TikTok’s parent corporation and messaging app WeChat. The ban comes into effect in 45 days, Trump said in his two separate executive orders signed on Thursday.
In letter to US Congressional leaders, the US president asserted that the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by the companies in China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the country. “At this time, the order takes action to address one mobile application in particular, TikTok,” he said.
TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd, automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, Trump added.
To deal with this threat, the order prohibits, beginning 45 days after the date of this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd. (a.k.a. Zijie Tiaodong), Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary),” Trump said.
He delegated power to the Commerce Secretary to take such actions, including adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by International Emergency Economic Powers Act as may be necessary to implement the order.
The order also directs all department and agencies to take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement the order, Trump said.
In separate executive order, Trump said WeChat, a messaging, social media, and electronic payment application owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings Ltd., reportedly has over one billion users worldwide, including users in the United States.
“Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users – threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans” personal and proprietary information,” he said.
WeChat also captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives, he alleged.
“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,” Trump said.
This comes nearly months after India banned 106 Chinese apps including TikTok and WeChat, citing national security concerns.