NEW YORK (77 WABC/AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders that would ban the social media app TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies. It still remains unclear if Trump has the legal authority to actually ban the apps from the US. The order is the Trump administration’s latest salvo at China, following a lengthy trade war and targeted actions against other Chinese companies.
Trump threatened a deadline of Sept. 15 to “close down” TikTok unless Microsoft or “somebody else” bought it. TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, Microsoft and Tencent, which owns WeChat, had no immediate replies to questions.
They call on the Commerce Secretary to define the banned dealings by that time. The orders’ wording is vague, but some experts say it appears intended to bar the popular apps from the Apple and Google app stores, which could effectively remove them from distribution in the US.