US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that bans any transactions with Chinese companies WeChat and ByteDance (the owner of TikTok). The order goes into effect from September 20. Notably, Microsoft is aiming to complete its acquisition of TikTok’s US operations just a few days before that deadline.
Post September 20, it seems ByteDance will no longer be able to generate revenue from the US, or even pay its US staff due to the ban. However, the order (see below) is fairly vague on what will happen once the deadline passes.
“TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally. TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” reads part of the order.
The executive order also cites India’s ban on TikTok, and the reasons cited by the Indian government for implementing the ban. “The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
A similar executive order has also been signed for WeChat.
Meanwhile, the US senate has passed a bill banning TikTok for Federal employees. The bill has passed through the House and the Senate, which means it could soon be implemented as a law in the country.
ByteDance and WeChat are yet to give any response to the new executive order by Trump, but it seems their troubles are just starting, and beginning to grow across the world.