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Why does Donald Trump want to ban TikTok in the US?

China accused the U.S. of "revealing its own hypocrisy" over Donald Trump's threat to ban the app or force it to sell its operations over national security.

Trump vs TikTok: Microsoft could buy the Chinese social network
Florence Lo REUTERS

China has reacted furiously after Donald Trump reportedly moved closer to signing an executive order forcing TikTok owners ByteDance to sell its U.S. operations with Microsoft rumored to be in talks to snap up the app, according to the NYT. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed earlier this week that Washington had opened a national security review into the short-form video app over concerns about where the company stores the information it gathers through the platform.

U.S. considering TikTok ban

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier confirmed that the U.S. was considering a direct ban of TikTok. India shut down access to the app recently following a border dispute with China.

The Chinese government accused the U.S. of “threatening Chinese companies without evidence” as the war of words between the two nations over trade and transparency about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic took on a more belligerent tone.

“Without evidence, the United States is threatening a Chinese company on the basis of presumption of culpability, revealing its own hypocrisy in its so-called ‘respect for justice and freedom,’” said spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wang Wenbin.

Wenbin went on to say that the U.S. decision to investigate TikTok was a “violation of the principles of the World Trade Organization regarding openness, transparency and non-discrimination.”

U.S. accused of "double standards" over social media

We ask that the United States listen to the voices of the international community to generate an open market atmosphere, one that is fair and non-discriminatory for companies in all countries, including China and to stop politicizing business and commercial matters.”

Wenbin also said that “other countries and international media have highlighted that [the U.S. should not exercise double standards when it comes to social media.”

The U.S. investigation is being carried out by the Foreign Investment Committee and it is expected that recommendations over whether TikTok represents a threat to national security will be presented to Trump shortly.