NEW YORK / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s executive order banning China’s TikTok could prevent U.S. app stores from offering popular short-video apps and render advertising on the platform ineffective. legal, according to a White House document reported by Reuters.
FILE PHOTO: The US flag is seen near the TikTok logo in this illustration taken on 16 July 2020. REUTERS / Florence Lo / Illustrations / File Photo
Trump signed an order last week banning trading with TikTok if its parent company ByteDance failed to reach a divestment deal within 45 days. It did not specify the scope of the ban, only stating that the US Commerce Department would determine which transactions would be banned by the end of the 45-day period.
White House documents, sent out to supporters last week, provide insight into the Trump administration’s thinking. It shows that the US government is looking to disrupt key aspects of TikTok’s operations and funding, amid concerns about the security of the personal data it processes.
“Prohibited transactions may include, for example, agreements to provide TikTok apps on app stores … purchase ads on TikTok and accept the terms of service to download TikTok apps. to the user’s device, ”stated the document.
A source familiar with the White House documents has verified its authenticity. TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some technology industry experts said removing the possibility of TikTok offered on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and owners of Google Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) downloadable app stores on iPhones and Android smartphones, possibly paralyzing application development.
“That killed TikTok in America,” said James Lewis, cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies based in Washington. “If they want to grow, these rules are a huge hurdle.”
However, he added that the US government may not be able to prevent Americans from downloading TikTok from foreign websites.
Apple and Alphabet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Trump’s executive order last week, TikTok told advertisers that they will continue to respect their planned advertising campaigns, refunding any ad campaigns it cannot. show and work with influencers to migrate to other platforms in the event of a ban. Some advertisers told Reuters they are drafting contingency plans and considering other applications for marketing.
It is not clear whether Trump’s order will be executed. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has led negotiations to acquire TikTok operations in North America, Australia and New Zealand under the supervision of the Trump administration. A successful deal will cause a ban on trading with TikTok to emerge.
White House documents seen by Reuters are unclear whether the United States will carry out a similar crackdown on WeChat, the social media app owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd of China.0700.HKwhich Trump also sought to ban in an executive order last week.
TikTok, reportedly exploring the legal challenges to Trump’s order, has 100 million active users in the United States and is especially popular with teenagers. It says US user data is securely stored in the US and Singapore, and that they will not hand over such information to the Chinese government.
Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Alexandra Alper in Washington, DC; Additional reporting by Echo Wang in New York; Edited by Greg Roumeliotis and Tom Brown