U.S. President Donald Trump issued executive orders on Thursday banning any U.S. transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, owner of the WeChat app, starting in 45 days.
The order means that TikTok and WeChat will not be able to appear on Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store in the United States.
The orders come as the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok and messenger app WeChat “significant threats.”
The TikTok app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security,” Trump said in one order.
“The following actions shall be prohibited beginning 45 days after the date of this order…any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.”
US federal authorities had last month raised concerns that TikTok could be used by Chinese intelligence agencies.
On August 5, Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance Ltd said sale to Microsoft was the only way TikTok could prevent itself from being banned in the US. Microsoft had on August 3 said it was in talks with ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok.
Trump said this week he would support the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp if the U.S. government got a “substantial portion” of the sales price but warned he will ban the service in the United States on Sept. 15.