President Trump told reporters Friday night he plans to ban TikTok from the U.S. through executive action. Mr. Trump made the news aboard Air Force One en route to Washington, D.C., from Florida.
“We’re banning them from the United States,” he said.
It’s not yet clear how the president would ban the Chinese-made social media company from the U.S., or even if he has such authority, but Mr. Trump said he might sign something as soon as Saturday. The president called it “severance” and rejected a reported deal in which Microsoft would buy TikTok.
TikTok’s general manager in the U.S., Vanessa Pappas, thanked the app’s U.S. users for their support in a video on Saturday, adding: “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”
A TikTok spokesperson echoed Pappas’ confidence in a statement to CBS News, and added that the company is “committed to protecting” the privacy of its users.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access,” according to the statement. “TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US.”
The company noted it has added nearly 1,000 people to its U.S. team this year alone, and plans to hire another 10,000 employees for U.S.-based positions.
“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform,” the company said. “We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month the U.S. was “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns. India has already banned the app.
The ACLU spoke out against the announcement on Twitter, calling the potential ban “a danger to free expression and technologically impractical.”
First published on July 31, 2020 / 10:45 PM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.Kathryn Watson