U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that his administration will ban TikTok in America as soon as Saturday, heightening the already decrepitated US-China relationship.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” NDTV reports.
The president added he would use executive power or emergency economic power to deal with the matter. The US secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in July revealed the President was already mulling banning the app in the US.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” he said.
The American move comes amid US allegations on the China-based parent company of TikTok, ByteDance which Washington has accused of mishandling users’ data and being Beijing’s tool.
ByteDance, that owns and operates TikTok has earlier come under the fire over security concerns from India, and the app was banned in its largest market in the world following a sweeping notice by the Indian government along with other Chinese apps.
TikTok has time and again disavowed the apps’ political connections with Beijing and CEO Kevin Mayer was quoted saying: “I can confirm that the Chinese government has never made a request to us for the TikTok data of Indian users,” the Wall Street Journal earlier reported.
Trump’s announcement also comes amid US government administrators increasingly raising concerns over the app’s handling of personal user’s data, with the US pressing that the app is a threat to US national security.
Trump’s administration reportedly tried to divert the app’s US-operations from the app’s Chinese parent but without much success, according to media reports.
Reuters noted, it is immediately not clear what powers Trump has to manifest his words, nor it is clear what legal challenges the President can face.
Responding to the ongoing development on the app ban, TikTok said in media inquiries that they “are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.”
US-China relationship has taken a turn for the worse over several issues including trade, and TikTok became the starting point of argument between the two global superpowers.