President Donald Trump told reporters that he plans to ban the TikTok app in the United States through executive authority while flying home from Florida on Friday evening.
“We’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said.
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. 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 has an estimated 65 million to 80 million users in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a New York City-based nonprofit advocacy organization, said banning an app like TikTok “is a danger to free expression and technologically impractical.”