Aug. 1 (UPI) — President Donald Trump has threatened to ban TikTok from operating in the United States amid tensions with the Chinese government.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One late Friday.
Trump said he could ban the video-sharing social networking app, owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, from operating in the United States through an executive order as early as Saturday.
Vanessa Pappas, U.S. general manager of TikTok, in a video message Saturday thanked the millions of people who use the app daily, and said “we’re not planning on going anywhere.”
The Trump administration used an executive order last year to force Chinese owners of the LGBTQ dating app Grindr to give up control of the company.
U.S. security officials have raised concerns that the app could be used to collect personal data on U.S. citizens, though TikTok has denied that it shares any data with the Chinese government.
Ahead of a big tech antitrust hearing earlier this week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer published a letter saying that “fair competition makes us all better,” and that TikTok is “not the enemy.”
“We have received even more scrutiny due to the company’s Chinese origins,” he also wrote in the letter.
“With our success comes responsibility and accountability,” he continued. “We are responsible and committed members of the American community that follows U.S. laws.”