President Trump on Friday said he plans to ban the social media platform TikTok from operating in the United States.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The president said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order as early as Saturday to officially ban the Chinese-owned company from the U.S. He signaled he was not supportive of allowing an American company to acquire TikTok.
A TikTok spokesperson responded to Trump’s threat by citing the U.S. investment in and involvement with the app, including roughly 100 million American users and nearly 1,000 people hired to the company’s U.S. team this year.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Trump’s announcement came hours after reports that Microsoft was in talks to purchase TikTok from Beijing-based company ByteDance. That report emerged around the same time news outlets reported that Trump was considering signing an executive order requiring ByteDance to divest the U.S. portion of TikTok because of concerns that the company may be giving sensitive U.S. data collected through the app to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).