US President Donald Trump on Friday said he would sign an executive to ban popular short form video content application ‘TikTok’ within the United States as early as Saturday..
US security officials have expressed concern that the app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, could be used to collect the personal data of Americans.
TikTok has denied accusations that it is controlled by or shares data with the Chinese government.
The fast-growing app has up to 80 million active monthly users in America and the ban would be a major blow for ByteDance.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Mr Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Trump’s announcement followed frantic negotiations on Friday between the White House, ByteDance and potential buyers of TikTok, including Microsoft Corp. They failed to produce a deal that would result in the Chinese company shedding the app’s U.S. operations.
While Microsoft already owns professional social media network LinkedIn, it would face fewer regulatory hurdles in acquiring TikTok than its more direct competitors, such as FaceBook Inc.
ByteDance’s valuation expectations for TikTok of more than $50 billion, and its insistence on retaining a minority stake in the app complicated deal talks, the reuters reported.
“Not the deal that you have been hearing about, that they are going to buy and sell… and Microsoft and another one. We are not an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) country,” Trump said.
The move to ban TikTok comes at a time of heightened tensions between the Trump administration and the Chinese government over a number of issues, including trade disputes and Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.