US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on Thursday targeting Chinese applications, TikTok and WeChat.
In the orders Trump has given Americans 45 days to stop doing business with the Chinese platforms, effectively setting a deadline for the sale of TikTok to Microsoft.
The president has cited “threat to national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States”.
The US government says TikTok and WeChat “capture vast swaths of information from its users”.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
The executive order also says TikTok’s data collection could allow China to track US government employees and gather personal information for blackmail, or to carry out corporate espionage.
The new restrictions sent the shares of WeChat’s parent firm, Tencent into a spin, tanking 10 percent in Hong Kong trade, wiping almost US$ 50 billion off its market capitalization.
TikTok threatens legal action against United States:
The company said it was “shocked” by an executive order from the US President outlining the ban.
TikTok said it would “pursue all remedies available” to “ensure the rule of law is not discarded”.
“We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request,” it said.
“We even expressed our willingness to pursue a full sale of the US business to an American company.”