Donald Trump made it official on Friday night. I think, right?
Trump is “officially” over Chinese-owned TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enact the ban, saying, “I have that authority.”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 1, 2020
Trump hasn’t been alone in his ongoing condemnation of TikTok. As reported by The Hill on Friday night, other TikTok critics include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Treasury Department, and multiple senators — both Republican and Democrat.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made similar comments earlier this month, announcing that the Trump administration was considering banning Chinese apps, including TikTok, because of national security concerns.
The Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States opened an investigation into ByteDance last year, while the House approved legislation last week banning the use of TikTok on federal devices.
Senators have also asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into TikTok and have separately raised concerns the app could be used by the CCP to interfere in U.S. elections.
Trump’s announcement came hours after reports that Microsoft was in talks to purchase TikTok from Beijing-based company ByteDance.
That report emerged around the same time news outlets reported that Trump was considering signing an executive order requiring ByteDance to divest the U.S. portion of TikTok because of concerns that the company may be giving sensitive U.S. data collected through the app to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
As reported by ABC News on Saturday morning, Trump said he would sign an order as early as today.
The app, which allows users to film and share short videos of themselves along to accompanying music, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The relationship has caused the Trump administration, as well as lawmakers across both aisles, to accuse the app of being a security threat.
The president said he would sign something as soon as Saturday, without specifying whether he was going to act through an executive order. Trump called the decision “severance” and firmly rejected the reported spinoff deal involving Microsoft buying TikTok.
When asked for comment, a TikTok spokesperson told ABC News:
“These are the facts: 100 million Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, especially during the pandemic. We’ve hired nearly 1,000 people to our U.S. team this year alone, and are proud to be hiring another 10,000 employees into great paying jobs across the US. Our $1 billion creator fund supports U.S. creators who are building livelihoods from our platform.
The spokesperson said people shouldn’t be concerned about Chinese ownership of TikTok because U.S. user data is stored in the U.S.
TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas declared to “the TikTok community,” that the video-sharing platform is “not going anywhere.”
A message to the TikTok community. pic.twitter.com/UD3TR2HfEf
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) August 1, 2020
Sounds like this is already shaping up as popcorn-eating stuff.
As The Right Scoop noted on Saturday, some “pretty important organizations” have already banned TikTok — including all three branches of the U.S. military and the Biden campaign.
The app, banned by all the branches of the military and by the Pentagon and White House and even by BIDEN and his campaign over being a huge security risk, is nevertheless really popular with kids who like to make funny videos, and lefty slacktivists who want to seem like they’re doing something important by taking a few seconds to scream at the camera about Trump.
Needless to say, TikTok fans are outraged, with more than a few of them offering up their own ideas on why Trump wants to ban the video-sharing platform.
Donald Trump says he wants to ban TikTok because of national security concerns. But is the real reason that he wants to silence @sarahcpr, who has become an Internet sensation with her mocking videos of his speeches? From @voguemagazine https://t.co/HlxLMgqKOI
— stuart emmrich (@StuartEmmrich) August 1, 2020
“Trump’s threat to ban TikTok came a few weeks after reports that many TikTok users had tried to sabotage a Trump campaign rally by requesting tickets they never planned to use and coordinated a push to flood Trump’s campaign app with negative reviews”….https://t.co/kRdP5Ugkln
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) August 1, 2020
I am voting for @JoeBiden. He won’t ban TIKTOK in a childish tantrum!!! Today’s reminder DONALD TRUMP IS LETTING THE RUSSIANS KILL AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND LETTING CORONAVIRUS KILL AMERICANS. HE DOES NOT WANT YOU TO TALK ABOUT THIS. Please, do not RT!!!https://t.co/M6xxxgfqmx
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 1, 2020
Trump trying to ban TikTok cause he got his feelings hurt. I’m at the point where this is how I would drag Trump out of the White House in November. pic.twitter.com/Kw5trdR9Pz
— Johnny (@ItsJohnny05) August 1, 2020
— namecannotbeblank (@nikhil_talhar) August 1, 2020
But “Camila” took a hilarious shot at the “TikTokers” themselves.
tiktokers going to the white house and asking trump to not ban tiktok pic.twitter.com/CBvXM2y1jh
— camila (@ntltcami) August 1, 2020
As did “Matt.”
hearing rumors that teen tiktok influencers are set to evade trump’s ban by starting their own ‘hype house’ on a secluded caribbean island, at the invitation of a mystery benevolent financier. more on this as i hear pic.twitter.com/QJSy7q0sVM
— Matt McDon-his-balcony (@mattjpfmcdonald) August 1, 2020
And this. I don’t even want to know who this “Tony” dude is.
tony lopez outside the white house trying to convince trump to not ban tiktok pic.twitter.com/ASMrkfywEf
— jason ☆ (@feetandtoelover) August 1, 2020
So will Trump follow through? Or is he posturing? Hard to say, as it often is with Trump, but one thing is certain. The battle over a website unknown to millions of Americans has begun in earnest.
If TikTok goes, it goes. But if it doesn’t, Trump’s threat could end up being a blessing in disguise for “Tiktokers” across the country.
Meanwhile, stay tuned — and grab the popcorn.