Trump says he’s banning TikTok from the United States.
NBC News reported that he made the statement to reporters Friday night on Air Force One as he was returning to Washington, D.C., from a fundraising trip to Florida,
“I have that authority.”
TikTok, which is popular with LGBTQ users, is owned by the China-based ByteDance, and its ownership has led to security concerns. TikTok says it’s a U.S. company and therefore exempt from these demands, but the Chinese government considers TikTok a domestic Chinese company.
“Chinese law can compel any domestic company to hand over data it has collected on users.”
But what may REALLY be behind this move is revenge. Trump has a grudge against TikTok users who claimed that they reduced the turnout for his June 20 rally in Tulsa, Okla., by reserving seats and then not showing up.
TikTok users posted videos suggesting the move, and more put the idea on Twitter as well and it took off. After the rally’s poor turn-out, TikTok users gloated.
Of course the president also appears to have a grudge against China, blaming the country for spreading COVID-19 to the U.S.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which looks at possible national security threats from overseas companies that buy U.S. properties, has been scrutinizing ByteDance for several months.
Meanwhile, Microsoft was in negotiations to buy TikTok, but that deal seems to be on hold now. Trump has said he didn’t support a Microsoft-TikTok deal.
Pool report via main print pooler David Cloud/LAT pic.twitter.com/RDV8LjnLLQ— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 1, 2020
Update: The U.S. general manager of TikTok has said that the service is not planning on going anywhere.
Vanessa Pappas in a video address on TikTok,
“We’re not planning on going anywhere. When it comes to safety and security we’re building the safest app because it’s the right thing to do.
We are so proud of all the various communities who call TikTok home.”
Pappas claims that the app employs 15,000 people in America, and plans to add an additional 10,000 jobs in the coming years.