Trump bans US citizens from dealing with TikTok

US President Donald Trump has signed decrees that prohibit American citizens “from having any business with the Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent, which own TikTok and the Wechat messenger.” It is about the prohibition of “any transaction by any person” falling under the jurisdiction of the United States, with the specified companies or their “subsidiaries”. The decision takes effect after 45 days.

The day before, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that American online stores remove two applications from sale, and on the evening of August 6, the Senate unanimously approved a law prohibiting government officials from using TikTok on office devices.

The reason for the restrictions was the belief of the American authorities that TikTok and Weсhat could be used by the Chinese communists for disinformation and propaganda campaigns. The Trump decree states that through TikTok, the PRC authorities can collect personal data of US citizens, track the whereabouts of government officials and use this information for espionage purposes.

Reuters points out that if TikTok is essentially an entertainment application, then Weсhat is actively used by Chinese businessmen, and its ban may negatively affect further negotiations with American partners. This is explained, among other things, by the fact that other popular messengers like Whatsapp are officially banned in China.

On August 1, Trump announced that he would ban TikTok in the United States and that he “has full authority” to do so. Later, the president demanded that the application be sold to an American company by September 15, otherwise he again threatened a ban. Reuters, citing a spokesman for Chinese company ByteDance, the developer of social networking site TikTok, indicated that the company is considering setting up a TikTok headquarters outside the United States.