President Donald Trump’s administration warned that it was considering a ban on Chinese social media. And it delivered in a big way last evening.
Trump signed an executive order Thursday night, “Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok,” banning transactions with communist Chinese-owned ByteDance Ltd. or its subsidiaries, including the TikTok app. The executive order stated that the ban applies “notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.”
The executive order, which will take effect 45 days after the date of the order, further stated: “TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.”
Security and privacy concerns about the app have existed for months. In December of 2019, the U.S military banned the app from government-issued devices. Last week, even presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign reportedly told its staff to delete the application from their work and personal devices due to concerns. And just yesterday, the Senate passed legislation that would ban TikTok from government-issued phones.
TikTok released a statement Friday morning stating that they are “shocked” by the order, and claimed that “for nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.” Although TikTok claimed that it attempted to cooperate with the U.S. government, the company twice declined to appear for questioning in the Senate, once in November of 2019, and again in March of this year.
In the same statement, TikTok threatened to fight back against the order:
“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representative and demand that TikTok provide transparency: Companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.