International

Trump Bans ByteDance's TikTok, Tencent's WeChat

Citing data security issues, President Donald Trump issued two executive orders Thursday night (Aug. 6) banning TikTok and WeChat from the U.S.

The ban will start in 45 days and bar any U.S. transactions with the apps or their parent companies, Tencent and ByteDance.

"Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," the executive order on WeChat said. "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information."

WeChat, a social media, messaging and digital payments app, claims more than a billion users worldwide. TikTok, a video-sharing app popular with Generation Z, has reportedly been downloaded 175 million times in the U.S. and over 1 billion times globally, according to the executive order.

Tencent's stock dropped 10 percent in Friday morning trading in Hong Kong on the news, equivalent to $30 billion of its market value, according to Bloomberg. The stock did regain ground after a U.S. official clarified the executive order only pertains to WeChat and not other partnerships the company has with American companies.

For its part, TikTok has rejected those allegations and maintains its U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. with files backed up in Singapore, according to CNBC.

A Tencent spokesperson said early this morning the company is "reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.”

ByteDance wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday night.

The move comes as Microsoft is in talks to acquire a share of the video-sharing app, a deal that Trump also has been vocal about, urging Microsoft to entirely buy TikTok instead of simply a part of the company.

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