Trump says he plans to ban TikTok in U.S., opposes Chinese sale

President Donald Trump waves to reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to Florida.

President Donald Trump waves to reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to Florida.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he plans to ban the social media app TikTok from operating in the country.

Reporters accompanying Trump on Air Force One from an event in Florida back to Washington said Trump told them he planned to take action against the popular video-sharing service as soon as Saturday.

“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said, according to the pool report.

Trump said the ban will come through either an executive order or by using executive economic powers.

He also made clear that he opposed a deal to let a U.S. company buy TikTok’s American operations from its China-based owner ByteDance.

Reuters reported earlier Friday that the White House was preparing to force ByteDance to shed TikTok’s U.S. operations, even as potential buyers, including Microsoft Corp, were reportedly already in talks to step in and purchase them.

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As relations between the United States and China deteriorate over trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cyber security and the spread of the novel coronavirus, TikTok has emerged as a flashpoint in the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously passed a bill that would bar U.S. federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. It will be taken up by the full Senate for a vote. The House of Representatives has already voted for a similar measure.

—With files from Reuters

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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