Washington, D.C, United States — The president of the United States, Donald Trump is set to ban the popular app TikTok.
On Friday night Trump said to reporters while aboard Air Force One that, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”
Although it is not yet clear of what legal challenges it might face, Trump said that he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order. “Well, I have that authority,” he said.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the people working on the issue within the Trump administration expected Trump to sign an order to force ByteDance – the Chinese company that owns the social media platformon – to sell the US operations of TikTok on Friday.
The move was aimed at resolving policymakers’ concerns that the foreign-owned TikTok may be a national security risk.
The Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters this week that the US government is preparing to make a policy recommendation to Trump by conducting a national security review of TikTok.
Although, Trump firmly rejected the idea of a potential spin off deal satisfying national security concerns, According to New York Times, Microsoft (MSFT) is in talks to acquire TikTok.
TikTok is the first Chinese social media platform to gain significant traction with users outside of its home country. It is popular in not only the United States but in other western countries as well. The app was downloaded 315 million times in the first three months of this year it self, more quarterly downloads than any other apps in the history.
Though TikTok has said that it collects on its users data outside of China and that it would resist any attempts by Beijing to seize the information, the critics of TikTok worry that the data it collects on its US users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” TikTok spokesperson Hilary McQuaide told CNN Business Saturday.