Donald Trump bans 'transactions' with TikTok and WeChat owners

7 August 2020, 08:46

Any 'transactions' with the owners of TikTok and WeChat is to be banned in the US
Any 'transactions' with the owners of TikTok and WeChat is to be banned in the US. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Donald Trump signed an executive order banning "transactions" with the owners of TikTok and WeChat, saying the US must take “aggressive action”.

The wording of the order - which comes into force in 45 days - is the largely vague and has sparked speculation about the effect this will have on the app in the United States.

One possibility is that hosting the apps in the Apple and Google Play stores could be covered by the ban.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump threatened a deadline of 15 September to "close down" TikTok unless Microsoft or "somebody else" bought it, following speculation that the US-based tech firm could buy the app.

TikTok is a hugely popular video-sharing app predominantly used by young people, with over 41 million users in the United States alone.

It is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which operates a separate version for the Chinese market.

The announcement of a ban follows weeks of speculation over the future of TikTok in Western countries after it was accused of secretly gathering user data and transferring it to China.

TikTok denies the claims and said it does not store US user information in China and would not share it with the Chinese government.

WeChat - and its sister app Weixin - are hugely popular messaging apps in China, with many Chinese expats using them to stay in touch with friends and family back home.

The apps are owned by Tencent, a major Chinese digital conglomerate, which also denies sharing data with the Chinese government and claims it never has and does not plan to store international user data in China.

TikTok owner ByteDance, Microsoft and WeChat owner Tencent have been asked for comment.