President Donald Trump told reporters that he plans to ban the TikTok app in the U.S. through executive authority while flying home from Florida on Friday evening.
“We’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said.
The app, which allows users to film and share short videos of themselves along to accompanying music, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The relationship has caused the Trump administration, as well as lawmakers across both aisles, to accuse the app of being a security threat
The president said he would sign something as soon as Saturday. Trump called the decision “severance” and firmly rejected the reported spinoff deal involving Microsoft buying TikTok.
TikTok has an estimated 65 million to 80 million users in the United States.
Trump did not specify whether he was going to act through an executive order.
The president threatened to ban the app while speaking to reporters before leaving for Florida earlier in the day, but did not commit to any specific actions, saying, “We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok.”
“We’ll see what happens, but we’re looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok,” he said.
The device hasn’t just triggered fear among Republicans. The Democratic National Committee also warned members against using the app earlier this month, according to an email obtained by CNN.
Earlier this month, a company spokesperson told ABC News the company is “led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users.”
On July 15, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said, “There are a number of administration officials who are looking at the national security risk as it relates to TikTok, WeChat and other apps that have the potential for national security exposure, specifically as it relates to the gathering of information on American citizens by a foreign adversary.”
The U.S. would not be the first major country to ban the app. India banned the app in late June.