Trump bans dealings with Chinese owners of

Trump bans dealings with Chinese owners of

Saturday, August 08, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States (AP) — President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat on security grounds, a move China's Government criticised as “political manipulation”.

The twin executive orders Thursday — one for each app — add to growing US-Chinese conflict over technology and security. They take effect in 45 days and could bar the apps from the Apple and Google app stores, effectively removing them from US distribution. US experts expressed scepticism about its legal authority.

China's foreign ministry said it opposed the move but gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.

“This is a pretty broad and pretty quick expansion of the technology Cold War between the US and China,” said Steven Weber, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity.

Earlier, Trump threatened a deadline of September 15 to “close down” TikTok in the United States unless Microsoft Corporation or another company acquires it.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-headquartered ByteDance Ltd, is popular for its short, catchy videos. The company says it has 100 million users in the United States and hundreds of millions worldwide. WeChat, known in Chinese as Weixin, is a critical communications app with more than one billion users. Around the world, many people of Chinese descent use WeChat to stay in touch with friends and family and to conduct business in mainland China.

The Trump Administration has expressed concern Chinese companies could provide American users' personal information to Chinese authorities, though it has given no evidence TikTok did that. TikTok has said repeatedly that it doesn't store American user data in China and never has given it to Beijing or censored content at the Government's request.

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