Trump Demands TikTok's Owners Sell the App and Destroy All Data in 90 Days

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Friday ordering ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of popular app TikTok, to sell its U.S. assets and destroy data within 90 days.

Last week, Trump issued executive orders banning the owners of TikTok and WeChat from conducting any U.S. transactions by September 15, citing national security concerns. Microsoft has expressed interest in buying TikTok's U.S. assets, which would stop the ban since the orders deal with the Chinese companies that own the apps rather than the apps themselves.

The new order states that ByteDance "shall divest all interests and rights" within 90 days in "any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance's operation of the TikTok application in the United States, as determined by" the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The order also retroactively invalidates ByteDance from obtaining any interest in Musical.ly, a social media video service that was acquired and merged with TikTok in 2017.

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance Ltd. ... through acquiring all interests in musical.​ly ... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," Trump wrote in the order.

TikTok Logo on Building
The logo of Chinese video app TikTok is seen on the side of the company's new office space at the C3 campus in Culver City, California on August 11, 2020. CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty

"The transaction resulting in the acquisition by ByteDance of Musical.​ly ... is hereby prohibited," the order continues. "And ownership by ByteDance of any interest in Musical.​ly in the United States, whether effected [sic] directly or indirectly through ByteDance, or through ByteDance's subsidiaries, affiliates, or Chinese shareholders, is also prohibited."

ByteDance is ordered to destroy any data it has gathered from U.S. users of both TikTok and Musical.ly within 90 days. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that TikTok represents a "risk to protection of the personal data of the American citizens" during a speech in Prague, Czech Republic on Wednesday.

"This is about data sets that were clearly available to the Chinese Communist Party's national security apparatus. Enormous data sets. That's just not something that the United States is prepared to permit," Pompeo said, without providing any further explanation or evidence.

In an August 6 letter to Congress, Trump explained that he was taking action against TikTok, the world's most popular short form video app, because "data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information."

He added that the data could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees or contractors and help to "build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

"We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly," TikTok said in response to last week's order, in a statement obtained by Newsweek. "If not by the Administration, then by the US courts."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.