Donald Trump again suggested on Friday that the U.S. could take action against the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok and impose a potential ban.
“We’re looking at TikTok. We may ban TikTok. We may do some other things, ”Trump told reporters as he left the White House on a trip to Florida.
“There are multiple possibilities. But a lot of things happen. So we̵
People familiar with the matter told Reuters that the United States is preparing to take action against TikTok due to concerns about the security of the personal information gathered by the popular short video app.
TikTok did not respond to the request for a comment.
Bloomberg reported Friday that the Trump administration is reviewing a number of changes to the app, including instructing TikTok parent company ByteDance to “sell” its ownership of the app’s U.S. operations. Several news agencies reported that Microsoft is reportedly considering purchasing TikTok’s US operations. Microsoft did not respond to the request for a comment.
The step comes as TikTok’s privacy practices have been scrutinized. Some U.S. companies have ordered employees to delete the app from the company’s phones, and the U.S. military has also banned the app internally.
Security experts say that TikTok collects a large amount of user data. Because the parent company is based in China, some fear that the platform may be forced to disclose its data to the Chinese government.
TikTok has vehemently denied sharing information with the Chinese government, distanced itself from ByteDance, and hired California-based former Disney manager Kevin Mayer as its chief executive officer in May.
It’s unclear what power Trump has personally to command a foreign company to sell part of its business, but there are some precedents. In 2019, the U.S. government forced Chinese owners of the gay dating app Grindr to cede ownership of the app for similar concerns. But with around 4 million active users, Grindr was much smaller and possibly less complex to legislate.
TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world in early 2020, and has been downloaded approximately 2 billion times in total.