The Associated Press reports:
President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered a sweeping but unspecified ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of consumer apps TikTok and WeChat, although it remains unclear if he has the legal authority to actually ban the apps from the U.S.
The twin executive orders — one for each app — take effect in 45 days. They say they are necessary because the China-owned apps “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” and call on the Commerce Secretary to define the banned dealings by that time.
While the wording of the orders is vague and appears to have been rushed out, some experts said it appears intended to bar the popular apps from the Apple and Google app stores, which could effectively remove them from distribution in the U.S.
Officials at Microsoft say it is examining a TikTok acquisition that would potentially buy TikTok’s American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand services, but officials close to the deal say the final offer may include operations in even more countries.
Trump’s executive order comes on the same day Facebook launched a new product Reels, a video-sharing app that mimics TikTok’s core features. TikTok has accused Facebook of introducing a “copycat” service, arguing the social network is trying to capitalize on the administration’s zeal to punish China for its own benefit.
For the more than 100 million Americans who have downloaded TikTok, experts say the app may no longer be sent software updates, rendering TikTok unmanageable, and eventually nonfunctional, with time.
TikTok threatened legal action against an executive order issued by President Donald Trump Thursday that would ban the Chinese social media app from doing business with U.S. firms.
TikTok said it was “shocked” by the order, claiming there has been “no due process or adherence to the law” from the Trump administration.
“This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth,” TikTok said in a blog post.