Trump signs executive order forcing ByteDance to split from TikTok

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President Donald Trump signed a decree on Friday obliging the Chinese group ByteDance to sell the American activities of TikTok, its international social network, within 90 days, thus formalizing repeated threats.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance […] could take actions that threaten to harm the national security of the United States, ”says the executive order.

The tenant of the White House has accused for months, without proof, the very popular video-sharing platform of siphoning data from American users for the benefit of Beijing.

“As we’ve said before, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it’s a place of entertainment, self-expression and social connection,” responded a ByteDance spokesperson.

“We are determined to continue to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”

In a context of strong trade and political tensions with China, the US president has already taken radical measures against TikTok and the WeChat platform a week ago.

This belongs to the Chinese giant Tencent and is omnipresent in the life of the Chinese (messaging, remote payments, reservations).

He banned them, within 45 days, from any transaction with an American partner.

“We are shocked by this decree,” TikTok commented in a press release.

“For almost a year, we have sought to discuss with the US government to find a solution […]. But we found ourselves faced with an administration which does not attach any importance to the facts, does not respect legal procedures and tries to interfere in negotiations between private companies. ”

Price to be discussed

The new decree signed on Friday specifies that the buyer must be American and “prove his willingness and ability to comply with this decree”.

The computer giant Microsoft is in full negotiations with ByteDance to buy TikTok, at least in the United States, if not more widely.

Such a transaction is valued between 10 and 30 billion dollars by the American press.

Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that if the acquisition takes place, “a very large proportion of the price must go to the United States Treasury”, because, according to him, such an operation is only possible thanks to the American authorities. .

This astonishing demand aroused strong criticism and some embarrassment, as its threats and decrees effectively made a transaction compulsory.

Observers have denounced “mafia” methods.

Other online security experts have argued that TikTok does not pose a major threat to the country, not to mention that network data is stored on servers in the United States and Singapore.

According to Friday’s decree, ByteDance will have to confirm that it has destroyed all data “of American users, obtained or derived from TikTok and”, an American application which had been bought by the Chinese company and merged into TikTok .

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