The administration issued an executive decision on Aug. 6 banning transactions with TikTok or its parent company ByteDance. Any transaction, the order says, will face prohibition in 45 days. While it's unclear exactly what can be done under the order, the Secretary of Commerce has the power to identify which transactions fall under the order.
In addition, another order on Aug. 14 gives ByteDance 90 days to divest its TikTok operations in the U.S., which has led the company to seek buyers. Currently, Microsoft and Oracle are two of the ones potentially on the table.
The concerns with TikTok are related to security, with the Trump administration joining other sources in suspicion that the company could be taking personal information from users. Trump's suspicions are also that the app could be passing information from users onto the Chinese government.
A spokesperson for TikTok said the company disagrees with the Trump administration's reasoning, but has “sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution,” according to CNBC.
“What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the Administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” the spokesperson said, concluding that the company now had no choice but to pursue a lawsuit.
TikTok recently told users not to be deterred by the idea of a ban, saying it wouldn't be going anywhere. But the company is making sure employees will still be paid even if the app is banned, sources say.
The app has been wildly popular during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 100 million users a month in the U.S. But the national security concerns have persisted — Congress voted to ban federal employees from having the app on their government-issued mobile devices.