New Trump EO Turns Up Pressure on TikTok: Gives 90-Day Deadline for ByteDance to Divest

August 17th, 2020 3:47 PM

President Donald Trump has once again turned up the pressure on the communist Chinese-owned company ByteDance Ltd.

In an executive order signed on Friday evening, Trump ordered ByteDance Ltd., the parent company of TikTok, to divest its interest in the app within 90 days of the date of the order, and ordered the company to delete any and all data it has collected from U.S citizens. 

The order cited security concerns about ByteDance, which has ties to the Chinese government. As the order stated, “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

The order specifically cited concerns over ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of the app, and requires the company to also destroy any data obtained from on U.S citizens. 

A previous executive order signed on August 6 “would ban the app from operating in the US in 45 days if it is not sold," according to CNN. This recent order further specified the acceptable terms for a sale and drew a distinction between what date TikTok would be banned from operating in the U.S. and what date TikTok’s and’s assets must be handed over. The company is required to notify the Committee on Financial Investments in the United States when the sale occurs.  

The long-awaited crackdown on TikTok came as a result of months of significant national security concerns. Recently, an investigation by The Wall Street Journal found that TikTok exploited a security loophole in Google’s Android system, allowing the app to track users without allowing them to opt out.

Privacy and security concerns about the app are so severe that the U.S. military banned the app from officially-issued phones in December of 2019. The Senate also passed a bill, originally proposed by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), that would ban the app from all government-issued phones.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representative and demand that TikTok provide transparency: Companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.