President Trump made good on his threat to ban video-sharing app TikTok and doubled down by taking out the messaging platform, WeChat, in two separate executive orders on Thursday.
The orders will disallow transactions with both apps by any person or property that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and will take effect in 45 days.
National security concerns were cited as the driving force behind the bans, as both social media platforms are owned by Chinese companies and are required to share their data with Beijing.
The WeChat order read: “Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary data.“
The President had already announced his plans to stop TikTok from operating on American soil last week, giving parent company ByteDance a September 15 deadline to sell to an American company.
Tech giant Microsoft Corp is currently in negotiations to buy the app, but the Trump administration rejected an initial proposal that allowed ByteDance to remain a minority shareholder.
Thursdays orders come on the heels of increased tensions between the U.S. and China over matters spanning Hong Kong’s autonomy, state sponsored human rights violations, theft of American intellectual property, and diplomatic embassy closures.
WeChat has 1.2 billion active monthly users worldwide and has developed far beyond a messaging service. The “super app” offers payment service and supports a platform of third-party developed video, games, and music programs. Parent company Tencent recently admitted that the app monitors user activity.
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world and is estimated to have 80 million American users a month. The company’s stateside headquarters claims to store all American data on U.S. soil.