TikTok can be banned ‘within weeks’
TikTok could be banned in the US “within weeks” as Donald Trump’s administration looks to blacklist the Chinese-owned viral video app over security concerns.
White House officials are considering placing ByteDance, the Beijing-headquartered owner of TikTok, on the US department of commerce’s entity list in a move that would effectively bar the use of the app, according to the Financial Times.
Mark Meadows, the US President’s chief of staff, said that officials were looking at TikTok and other apps that “have the potential for national security exposure” over fears information was being gathered “on American citizens by a foreign adversary”.
“I don’t think there’s any self-imposed deadline for action, but I think we are looking at weeks, not months,” he said.
TikTok, which commands almost 50 million users in the US and 800 million users globally, has increasingly come to the attention of US politicians in recent months as increasing numbers of users have taken to the app to express their views on the election.
The company has attempted to allay concerns that it is sending sensitive information to Beijing by pulling its operations out of Hong Kong over a controversial national security bill that critics have warned could impinge on privacy.
On Thursday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a move by TikTok to leave would be better than a ban on the app. “We haven’t made final decisions but... I think TikTok is going to pull out of the holding company which is China-run and operate as an independent American company,” said Kudlow.