- President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday night that he would ban the U.S. social media platform TikTok.
- "As far as TikTok is concerned, we are banning it from the United States," Trump told reporters on Friday. This emerges from a pool report by the David Cloud of the Los Angeles Times.
- Trump claimed that he had the "authority" to do this "with an executive order or something," according to Cloud's pool report. However, it is unclear whether Trump can completely ban the app.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday that he was banning the US-owned Chinese social media platform TikTok with its "presidential authority."
"As far as TikTok is concerned, we ban it from the United States," Trump told reporters on Friday Pool report from the David Cloud of the Los Angeles Times.
Trump told reporters that he plans to take action "as early as Saturday."
According to the Pool report, Trump claimed that he had "authority" to ban TikTok "with an executive order or something." However, it is unclear what authority he has to completely ban the app in the United States.
White House officials did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
The Trump administration has been publicly threatening to ban TikTok since early July, raising concerns about the app's connections to China and the foreign government's access to user data and content moderation by its parent company ByteDance. TikTok has repeatedly insisted that if the Chinese government requests it, it will never provide data.
Trump's joke to reporters on Friday night comes hours after reports have surfaced. Trump was planning to issue an executive order instructing TikTok's parent company to "separate" from the viral app's activities in the United States. According to a law of 1988Trump has the authority to block foreign deals with U.S. companies if he believes this is a national security threat. Trump has used twice before this authority to block businesses where tech companies are from China and Singapore were ready to take over US-based companies.
Microsoft quickly became a potential buyer of TikTok's US operations. The company is reportedly in "advanced talks" about the sale, which "could eliminate potential legal challenges – and public backlashes – that could have occurred if millions of American smartphones had superseded the hugely popular app." The Wall Street Journal reported.
It is unclear how TikTok or ByteDance would respond to any of the President's orders, but issuing an executive order would escalate the Trump administration's attacks on TikTok and other Chinese technology companies.
In a previous statement to Business Insider, a representative from TikTok said the company had "made no comments about rumors or speculation" and was "confident in TikTok's long-term success."
"Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok to chat and socialize, including our community of creators and artists who make a living from the platform," said TikTok in his statement. "We are motivated by their passion and creativity and are committed to protecting their privacy and security as we continue to bring families joy and meaningful careers to those who work on our platform."
TikTok came to the U.S. in 2018 and has found since then an energetic and growing base of up to 80 million users. The app, which has more than 2.3 billion downloads worldwide, was last valued at a whopping 30 to 50 billion US dollars.
TikTok's China relations have garnered more attention in recent months as the president and officials have said they are considering banning the app. Trump said a ban was a way to punish China for its role in the coronavirus pandemic, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised concerns about national security.
The resulting uncertainty in TikTok's future has reportedly prompted ByteDance executives and investors to look for alternatives to avoid a US ban. Earlier this month, a group of U.S. investors from ByteDance, including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, considered buying a majority stake in TikTok The information. But The information reported Friday that these talks failed because it was feared that such a takeover "would not come together with the Trump administration".