President Donald Trump has signed a pair of executive orders that would stop any US individual or company from doing business with the hugely popular TikTok and WeChat apps. And TikTok has fired back threatening to sue the Trump administration.
The orders, despite particularly focusing on the TikTok and WeChat apps, would prevent anybody in the US from doing business with the respective owners of the two apps, ByteDance and Tencent, or any of their subsidiaries.
The order against TikTok reads that it will be prohibited for there to be “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance, Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries”. For WeChat, it differs slightly, stating “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd., Shenzhen, China, or any subsidiary of that entity”.
As it stands, these orders will go into effect 44 days from now on Sunday 20 September.
The orders claim that the data collected by the pair of apps “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information”, opening the door for location tracking of officials, blackmail, and corporate espionage.
The orders also highlight the fact that other countries, such as India and Australia, have already banned or began restricting TikTok and WeChat.
TikTok, however, isn’t just going to sit idly by and watch this unfold.
In a statement, the app said it’s “shocked” by the actions of the US government, accusing it of using “no due process or adherence to the law”.
“It sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets,” the statement continued. “We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.”
It was recently confirmed that the US government, and President Trump himself, gave Microsoft the green light to hold discussions with ByteDance about the possible acquisition of its US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand businesses. However, the government has only given the companies until 15 September to come to a resolution – five days before these executive orders come into effect.