Trump says that he will ban TikTok on Saturday; president rejects Microsoft's interest in the app

Trump says that he will ban TikTok on Saturday; president rejects Microsoft's interest in the app
UPDATE:This morning on the TikTok app, the company's U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas posted a message to the TikTok community. She said, "I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok every day bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives. We've heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We're not planning on going anywhere. TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas and connect with people across different backgrounds. And we are so proud of all the various communities that call TikTok their home.

I'm also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day and the additional 10,000 jobs that we are bringing into this country over the next three years. I'm thrilled about our U.S. Creator Fund where we just announced our $1 billion fund to support our creators and when it comes to safety and security, we're building the safest app because we know it's the right thing to do. So we appreciate the support. We're here for the long run and continue to share your voice here and let's stand for TikTok."

On his way to Florida today, President Donald Trump told reporters, "We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things. There’s a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok." At the same time, speculation was swirling that Microsoft was considering a purchase of the short-form video app that is valued anywhere between $50 billion and $100 billion.

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Perhaps something happened in Florida that put the president in a foul mood. Returning from the Sunshine State this evening, Trump told the media that he will sign an executive order or use a designation to ban TikTok in the U.S. as soon as tomorrow. The app, which allows users to record 15-second or 30-second videos has been a huge hit with over two billion installs in the App Store and Google Play Store. During the pandemic, it has helped many pass the time (especially teens) by sharing comedic clips, musical clips, clips of users dancing, and even clips of users protesting.

NBC News is reporting that Trump made the comment about TikTok aboard Air Force One. Asked about using an executive order, the president stated, "Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or (a designation through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act)." As far as the rumored Microsoft deal was concerned, Trump said that he rejects such a transaction. There are several reasons that explain Trump's decision to ban TikTok in the states. One, the app is owned by a Chinese based firm called ByteDance and this administration has continually called China-based tech firms like Huawei and ZTE national security threats. That's because of a law in China that could require a tech firm in the country to collect information on behalf of China's communist government. There is no evidence that Huawei, ZTE, or TikTok has ever sent intelligence to Beijing. In a statement, TikTok said that it has "no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy."

TikTok has tried to distance itself from China and even hired the former head of the Disney+ streaming service, Kevin Mayer, as CEO. But some believe that Trump is seeking revenge against China for the spread of the coronavirus into the U.S. Another possibility is that the president is upset about TikTok users who reserved tickets to his Tulsa event planning not to show up. This created many empty seats at the venue which was not a good look for Trump's re-election campaign.

As soon as an official statement about TikTok is released tomorrow (if indeed one is) we will pass it on to you.

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