• By The Financial District


US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday (Friday, August 7, 2020 in Manila) which will ban all US citizens from carrying out transactions with ByteDance, the China-based parent company of TikTok, beginning in 45 days, Shabtai Gold wrote for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa.)

The order comes as Microsoft is considering buying the US wing of TikTok's operations from ByteDance and has set a 45-day timeline for the deal, in a move that Trump has backed.

The executive order seemed to aim to either force a sale to a US company or lead to a ban on the app in the US. It deemed TikTok a "threat" to national security, and cited automatic data collection by the popular video-focused social media app. In June 2020, nearly a million US TikTok users swamped the Trump campaign with requests for tickets for Trump’s Tulsa, Oklahoma rally, prompting it to announce that more than a million people would attend the rally in a 19,000-seat arena. The announcement bombed as only 6,200 people attended the rally, with thousands more protesting the event, humiliating Trump and campaign manager Brad Parscale, who was later sacked.

"This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information," the order said. "The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security." The ban, experts said, violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which bans any abridgment of the freedom of speech, including the use of software.