United States President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will ban social media app TikTok as American authorities have raised concerns that it could be used by Chinese intelligence, AFP reported on Saturday. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters on the president’s official aircraft, Air Force One.
He earlier also broadly said that the United States may be “doing other things” without specifying, CNBC reported. “There a couple of options, but a lot of things are happening,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “So we’ll see what happens.
Trump also plans to order Bytedance Ltd, a Chinese company, to divest its ownership of TikTok, Bloomberg reported on Friday citing “people familiar with the development”. The United States government has been investigating national security risks that may accrue because of Bytedance’s ownership of TikTok, Bloomberg said. Bytedance purchased Musical.ly Inc. in 2017 and merged it with TikTok.
TikTok issued a statement on Friday. It said: “While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.” TikTok claims it does not censor videos based on content about China, and will not provide user data to the Chinese government even if asked.
On June 29, the Indian government banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese-linked apps, citing national security concerns. However, the move came just two weeks after a violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control, which resulted in the death of 20 jawans.
Trump’s remarks come amid some media reports that Microsoft is in talks to buy the social media app. However, Microsoft has not yet commented on the reports.