President Donald Trump issued an executive order giving ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, 90 days to divest from its U.S. assets and any data the video-sharing app had gathered in the United States.
In the order, which was issued at 7:45 p.m. Friday, Trump wrote that there was “credible evidence” that ByteDance, which merged TikTok with the U.S. lip-sync app Musical.ly in 2018, “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which examines national security threats, had recommended the order.
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“We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come,” said a statement from TikTok issued Saturday.
Last week Trump signed an executive order barring TikTok, as well as the Chinese messaging app WeChat, from doing business with firms in the United States.
The company responded with a statement saying the order set “a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets” and later representatives said they were preparing to sue the administration.
Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency, said the new order will likely stand up to a legal challenge because it comes from CFIUS, where there are “clear statutory procedures” to do what the order does.
CFIUS investigates acquisitions involving foreign companies that may pose national security risks, and has been investigating ByteDance’s purchase of Musical.ly for months.
TikTok is the first Chinese-owned social media app to find global success.