What are Americans going to do without viral TikTok dance challenges? We may soon find out as President Donald Trump, 74, said he’s going to make good on his threat to ban the Chinese owned video app TikTok from operating in the U.S. He told reporters aboard Air Force One on July 31 that, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” Trump then added that he could make it happen with just the stroke of a pen as soon as Aug. 1. “Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that (emergency economic powers)” he explained. Trump also told the press pool that he is against a U.S. company buying TikTok’s American operations, as Microsoft had reportedly been eyeing a purchase.
Pool report via main print pooler David Cloud/LAT pic.twitter.com/RDV8LjnLLQ
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 1, 2020
Trump has been against any Chinese owned social media apps in the U.S. marketplace, fearing national security concerns. His Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned about a TikTok ban during a July 6 appearance on Fox News. He said that, “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” and that, “With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right.”
When asked by Fox News‘s Laura Ingraham if Americans should download TikTok, he replied, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” TikTok claimed in a statement it hasn’t given any U.S. user information to the Chinese government and that the company has “no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy.” The app is run by the Beijing-based company ByteDance.
On Twitter, folks greeted the news with memes of what TikTok “celebrities” are going to do now if the app gets banned. Some joked that they’ll have to go back to living in their mom’s basement, or apply for fast food jobs, as the majority of its users are teens and young adults. TikTok has made stars of 19-year-old Addison Rae — who is now besties with the Kardashians thanks to her popularity with 53 million followers — and 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio, due to their highly viewed TikTok dance routines.
Parents of influencers taking them to get a real job after TikTok gets banned https://t.co/oNin4KivCg
— Jose (@JZepeda_13) August 1, 2020
However, others were furious with Trump. User @goldengateblond tweeted, “since Trump routinely discusses sensitive information on an unsecured cellphone he refuses to give up, let’s stop pretending he’s worried about how secure TikTok is and be honest about why he wants to shut it down.” She then linked to a report that alleged TikTok teens orchestrated a campaign via the app to reserve seats at Trump’s June 20 rally in Oklahoma, then failed to show up, thus humiliating the president with a low supporter turnout.
User @Scienergetic snarked, “He’ll ban Tik-Tok but not the KKK,” while @dazzle715 commented, “I’m so glad banning Tik-Tok is the main concern of our POS president. Nevermind kicking Covid’s ass, holding cops accountable for deplorable crimes or healthcare and stimulus checks. By all means let’s go after the dancing teens!” Users should soon find out the fate of TikTok, as Trump said he could enact the ban as early as Aug. 1.