President Trump told reporters that he plans to ban the social media platform TikTok from the United States as soon as Saturday, Fox News reports.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.
“I have that authority…It’s going to be signed tomorrow.” Trump said he could use an executive order or emergency economic powers.
The company that owns TikTok has denied it gives data from the app to the Chinese government.
The Navy and the Army have already banned TikTok on government-issued phones.
Pentagon employees have also been told to remove it from their phones.
However, a ban would further pressure TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the app’s U.S. operations amid national security concerns about users’ personal data.
Microsoft is a leading contender to buy, Fox News added.
TikTok has generated millions of downloads among Americans in the last few years, especially teenagers. The app is used it to make short videos.
Tensions between the U.S. and China remain strong over the coronavirus, trade, Hong Kong and the closing of consulates over accusations of spying.
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The administration is also prepared to order the company to divest its ownership in TikTok.
Investment bankers told FOX Business if the Microsoft deal falls through, ByteDance will certainly shop TikTok wider including to private equity firms. A person with direct knowledge told FOX Business there are two to three serious buyers that have expressed interest.
Any deal will be closely scrutinized by the Trump administration. “If Microsoft or any U.S. company buys TikTok this will be carefully monitored to make sure there is absolutely no Chinese involvement in the new company,” said one Wall Street executive with knowledge of the matter.
Trump as recently as March used executive powers to force a Chinese company to sell its stake in a U.S. hotel software company, the Washington Post reported.
Talks between the White House and TikTok stalled Friday over the details of a potential sale, including ByteDance’s insistence on a minority stake in the app, Reuters reported.
The platform has hundreds of employees in the U.S. and recently hired Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive, as chief executive, according to the Post.