President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday evening to force ByteDance, TikTok Chinese-owned parent firm, to divest participation in US activities of the app within 90 days.
Trump clarified in the order that he suspects there is “credible proof” that ByteDance “could take action that seeks to damage United States national security” following the company ‘s purchase of the Musical social media app.
The action marks only the latest twist between the famous video service and the president in the tumultuous back and forth after he announced last month that he would bar TikTok from working in the US. Last week, Trump issued an executive order that would ban the app from operating in the US in 45 days unless it is sold.
TikTok faces difficulties in the US
Nevertheless, the order released on Friday night clearly orders ByteDance to delete all data collected from US TikTok owners. And also notify the US Foreign Investment Committee until it has done so.
ByteDance will be necessary to certify on a weekly basis that it complies with the order in front of the committee. Which is authorized to take measures to ensure the implementation of the order. Including allowing U.S. government employees to access “all premises and facilities” of ByteDance, TikTok and their U.S. subsidiaries.
Attorney General William Barr is able to “take all necessary steps” to enforce the order.
The order also mandates ByteDance to inform the committee of any planned selling or transition. Which specifically specifies that the committee may determine that the seller or transferor is a U.S. citizen. Or if it belongs to U.S. citizens.
Microsoft has emerged as a potential, albeit unlikely, savior for the platform. As TikTok scrambled to keep its American presence alive.
The firm announced earlier this month, after a meeting between CEO Satya Nadella and Trump. That it was moving ahead with talks to buy TikTok.
The deal could be complex and costly to achieve. And in recent years, Microsoft has changed its focus from customers to businesses.