Donald Trump Issues TikTok Ban By Executive Order, With September Deadline
Setting a September 15 deadline for the transfer of TikTok’s U.S. operations to a U.S. company, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning operations after that date. It marks yet another move by the president to limit a social media company after feeling slighted by its users or management.
In the executive order, which can be read in full here, Trump says, “the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” He cites information collected by the app, and also says the app suppresses information about government resistance, and spreads misinformation about COVID-19.
TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
In a similar order, Trump issued the same ban WeChat, another social media app owned by a company based in China.
Ironically, Trump’s campaign was recently temporarily banned from his preferred social media app, Twitter, for one of the same reasons he names in the TikTok order — spreading misinformation about COVID-19. As the Washington Post reports, the campaign falsely claimed that children are “almost immune” to the virus.
While Trump moves to ban TikTok — an app he only seemed to notice after users pranked him by reserving tickets for his Tulsa rally — he’s also threatened to shut down other social media apps for removing his own misleading or violent content.
The president has been threatening for months to ban or remove legal protections from social media sites where he feels attacked, slighted, or censored, but the connection to China and data security have garnered support for the move.