On Friday, Donald Trump told a group of reporters on Air Force One that he planned to do away with the app TikTok as soon as Saturday.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said. He referred to his emergency executive powers when he said: “Well, I have that authority.”
But can the president actually get rid of the popular social media app? Per Variety, there isn’t exactly a clear picture of how that might work. But Trump could try to add Apple and Google to a list of foreign entities that “present a greater risk of diversion to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, terrorism, or other activities contrary to U.S. national security and/or foreign policy interests.”
James Lewis, director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told The Verge that it would be a legal challenge for the White House to do this to TikTok.
“They could sanction them, but usually the sanction is tied to trade violations or espionage or proliferation or intellectual property theft. You can’t just do it because you’re mad at a company,” Lewis said.
This morning, Vanessa Pappas, the general manager of the app, released a video responding to the president’s statement.
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“I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok every day, bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives,” she said. “We’ve heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We’re not planning on going anywhere. TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas and connect with people across different backgrounds, and we are so proud of all the various communities that call TikTok home. I’m also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day, and the additional 10,000 jobs we’re bringing into this country over the next three years. I’m thrilled about our U.S. Creator Fun, where we just announced our $1 billion fund to support our creators. and when it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do. We appreciate the support, we’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here, and let’s stand for TikTok.”
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