WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok due to security concerns.
TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated billion users worldwide.
The popularity of the platform surged after ByteDance acquired a US-based app Musically in 2017 and merged it with its own video service.
As per details, US officials in recent weeks have voiced fears of the wildly popular video platform being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes; however, the company has refused any links to the Chinese government.
According to the reports, Trump would require the US operations of the app to be divested from its Chinese parent firm ByteDance, however the president announced a ban. Earlier, talking to media Trump said, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”
He added he would take action as soon as Saturday using emergency economic power or executive order. Trump’s move comes following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, which investigates deals affecting US national security.
James Lewis, head of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he believes the security risk of using TikTok is “close to zero” but that ByteDance could face pressure from China to engage in censorship.
The US officials under CFIUS have the power to unwind an acquisition previously approved and that similar action was taken in 2019 with the dating app Grindr after it was bought by a Chinese firm, Lewis said.