President Donald Trump says he intends to ban the operation of TikTok in the U.S.
Trump said Friday he could take action as soon as Saturday to stop the operation of the popular video-sharing social media app in the U.S.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” he told reporters traveling with him Friday from Florida.
He said he would likely use an executive order to prohibit the app.
Trump does not support a deal that would allow a U.S. company to buy TikTok’s American operations.
The app is extremely popular in both the U.S. and around the world. It has already been downloaded 2 billion times worldwide, and 165 million of those downloads were in the U.S.
The app features not only entertainment videos, but also debates and takes positions on political issues, such as racial justice and the coming U.S. presidential election.
U.S. officials are concerned that TikTok may pose a security threat, fearing that the company might share its user data with China’s government. However, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has said it does not share user data with the Chinese government and maintains that it only stores U.S. user data in the U.S. and Singapore. TikTok also recently chose former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its chief executive in a move seen as an effort to distance itself from Beijing.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said earlier this week that the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency group led by the Treasury Department, would be looking into TikTok.
CFIUS’s job is to oversee foreign investments and assess them for potential national security risks. It can force companies to cancel deals or institute other measures it deems necessary for national security.