Source: AP Photo
President Donald Trump plans to ban the popular social media app TikTok from the United States as early as Saturday. He said he plans to use an executive order to make the move.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One late Friday night.“I have that authority…It’s going to be signed tomorrow.”
The move would force ByteDance, the Chinese parent company, to divest and sell its United States operations. As of now, Microsoft has been the leading contender in buying the popular social media platform.
The news comes after talks between the Trump administration and ByteDance came to a standstill. Even though the Chinese company planned to sell its U.S. operations, they wanted to have a minority stake in the company.
TikTok has posed a national security risk because of its privacy concerns. In fact, the company has been slapped with lawsuits over this very issue. Earlier this year four teens in Illinois sued over the company’s use of biometric data.
“TikTok uses facial recognition software to superimpose filters on users’ faces, and artificial intelligence to evaluate the quality of uploaded videos and determine the user’s age, according to the lawsuit. Through those processes, TikTok allegedly acquires the user’s facial geometry,” the Chicago Tribune reported in May.
In February of 2019, TikTok – formerly Musical.ly – settled a $5.7 million lawsuit for collecting personal data on children using the app, a clear violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), WHSV-TV previously reported. The COPPA requires parental consent before collecting data on kids.
Despite its growing controversy, TikTok stated they have been committed to the privacy of its users.
“We’ve hired nearly 1,000 people to our US team this year alone, and are proud to be hiring another 10,000 employees into great paying jobs across the US.,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. “Our $1 billion creator fund supports US creators who are building livelihoods from our platform.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access,” the statement said. “TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US. 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.”