President Donald Trump has announced that he is banning Chinese-owned video-sharing app tickets in the United States.
He told reporters he could sign the executive order early Saturday.
U.S. security officials have expressed concern that the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, could be used to collect personal information from Americans.
Tiktok has denied allegations that it controls or shares data with the Chinese government.
The fast-growing app has up to 60 million active monthly users in the United States, and the ban on bytendance is a big push.
“As far as ticks are concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at Air Force One.
- Should we be worried about ticks?
- Tiktak fans have ‘exploited’ for digital gifts
It was not immediately clear what Mr. Trump’s authority was in banning tickets, how the ban would be enforced, and what legal challenges he would face.
Microsoft has spoken of buying the app from ByteDance and negotiating, but Mr. Trump expressed skepticism that such a deal would be allowed to happen. If the deal goes ahead, reports say it involves bitdance in the US operation of TightTock.
A TickTock spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s tough sanctions, but told U.S. media that the agency is confident of TickTock’s long-term success in the United States.
The move comes amid a series of tensions between the Trump administration and the Chinese government over a number of issues, including trade disputes and tackling the coronavirus outbreak in Beijing.
What’s a tick?
The platform has exploded in popularity in recent years, mostly for people under the age of 20.
They use the app to share 15-second videos that often involve lip-syncing to songs, comedy routines and unusual editing techniques.
These videos are then made available to both followers and strangers. By default, all accounts are public, although users can restrict uploads to the authorized list of contacts.
TickTock also allows sending private messages but this feature is limited to “friends”.
The app has an estimated 800 million active monthly users, mostly in the United States and India.
India has already blocked Tikitak as well as other Chinese applications. Meanwhile, Huawei and telecom equipment maker ZTE have banned Australia, and Australia is considering banning tickets.
Why is America worried about ticks?
U.S. officials and politicians have expressed concern that data collected by ByteDance could be passed on to the Chinese government through TickTick.
Tiktok is similar to the Chinese app but runs a separate version known as Doyin. It states that all U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. with backups in Singapore.
- Tiktok claims to have sent US user data to China
- Tiktok: We are not ‘under the thumb’ of China
This week, TickTock has told users and regulators that it will maintain a high level of transparency while allowing reviews of its algorithms.
“We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and have no agenda – our only goal is a vibrant, dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy.” TickTock CEO Kevin Mayer said in a post this week.
“Tiktok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.”