President Donald Trump on Thursday signed executive orders that would effectively ban Chinese-based TikTok and WeChat in the US, NPR reports.
The first order would ban any transactions between Americans and TikTok owner ByteDance for “national security reasons.”
The move means that TikTok would no longer be able to receive ads from American companies and would be removed from app stores.
Users that have already downloaded the app may no longer be able to update it.
TikTok said it was “shocked” by the order, arguing that the administration "paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses."
The company said the order "sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets."
Trump blames data collection:
The White House said that TikTok captures large amounts of user data, including their location history and Internet searches.
TikTok collects data on part with big companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, experts said.
"While TikTok is being singled out in this executive order, their data collection and sharing practices are fairly standard in the industry," University of Notre Dame technology professor Kirsten Martin told NPR. "In fact, many fitness apps were banned from use in the military for tracking location data, but we did not ban them from all U.S. citizens."
The White House said other companies don’t turn data over to the Chinese government.
"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," the executive order said.
Microsoft and other companies are trying to acquire the social network before the ban.
Trump also bans WeChat:
Trump signed another executive order banning Tencent Holdings, the owner of WeChat, a popular messaging and social media app.
"Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," the order said. "In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives."