NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat on security grounds, a move China’s government criticized as “political manipulation.”
The twin executive orders Thursday — one for each app — add to growing U.S.-Chinese conflict over technology and security. They take effect in 45 days and could bar the apps from the Apple and Google app stores, effectively removing them from U.S. distribution.
China’s foreign ministry said it opposed the move but gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.
Earlier, Trump threatened a deadline of Sept. 15 to “close down” TikTok in the United States unless Microsoft Corp. or another company acquires it.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-headquartered ByteDance Ltd., is popular for its short, catchy videos. The company says it has 100 million users in the United States and hundreds of millions worldwide.
The Trump administration has expressed concern Chinese social media services could provide American users’ personal information to Chinese authorities, though it has given no evidence TikTok did that.