Donald Trump has ordered a ban of “transactions” with the owners of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat.
The orders – which come into force in 45 days – remain vague but could potentially involve the removal of the apps from the Apple and Google app stores.
The US President previously threatened a deadline of September 15 to “close down” the app unless Microsoft or “somebody else” purchased it.
TikTok, which is wildly popular among young people, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. They insist that the app does not store US user information and it is not shared with the Chinese government.
Fears over the app are believed to have stemmed from a Chinese law introduced in 2017, which obligates companies to cooperate with the country’s national intelligence work.
Donald Trump previously wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
WeChat, the other app targeted by Trump’s orders, is also used widely around the world.
It is a key method of communication between the US and China. Most Western messaging apps are banned in China, but users in the US can use WeChat to conduct business transactions and communicate with friends and family in China.
Reports from US media have claimed that GOP operatives are helping to secure West’s place on the ballot in a number of states, which could potentially take votes away from the presumptive Democrat candidate Joe Biden.
“I like him. He’s always been very nice to me,” Trump said of West at a White House press conference on Wednesday evening (August 5).