Trump orders ban on TikTok, WeChat; cites action by India on Chinese Apps

US President Donald Trump

New Delhi (NVI): US President Donald Trump has issued executive orders banning US deals with the Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat apps in 45 days while citing the recent action taken by India on 59 such apps due to security concerns.

Saying that the US must take “aggressive action” in the interest of national security, Trump has ordered to ban all transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, owner of the WeChat app, starting in 45 days.

“The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were ‘stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” he said in a presidential directive.

“The risks are real,” the presidential directive said, accusing the Chinese mobile applications of capturing vast swaths of information from its users that may potentially be accessed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Furthermore, the data captured by TikTok could potentially allow China to track locations of federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage, the directive said.

In addition to this, for its ban on WeChat, a mobile app largely used by the Chinese community in the United States, Trump referenced restrictions placed by India and Australia.

The executive orders issued would prohibit “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” with the companies, beginning in 45 days.

China has always shut out US apps and websites such as Facebook and Google from being operating there and instead, built its brand of technology firms.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Indian Government had in June banned 59 Chinese Apps including TikTok and WeChat — the same apps under the US scanner — in the wake of tense border situation with China and Beijing’s aggressive posturing in Ladakh region that triggered Galwan Valley Clashes.