NBC News — President Donald Trump said on Friday night that he would ban TikTok.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington after a fundraising trip to Florida.
Trump described the action as “severance” and said he could sign an order as soon as Saturday.
The president said he didn’t support a deal involving TikTok and Microsoft. On Friday reports emerged that Microsoft was in talks to buy the app from its owner, ByteDance.
The White House has ramped up its concerns about the popular video-sharing app in recent weeks over its ownership by ByteDance, a Chinese company. Chinese law can compel any domestic company to hand over data it has collected on users.
“We’re looking at TikTok,” Trump said earlier Friday. “We may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some others things,” Trump told reporters at the White House Friday morning. “We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While TikTok is largely seen as an app for young people, it tracks phone locations and users’ metadata, like many apps, and China has a demonstrated appetite for Americans’ personal data. TikTok has also faced repeated accusations of censoring content unappetizing to Beijing, prompting fears that the app’s popularity serves as an extension of China’s influence.
Since November, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which investigates foreign acquisitions of U.S. properties for potential national security threats, has been looking into ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly, the Chinese-owned lip-syncing app it merged with TikTok.
Microsoft is in talks to purchase the app, the New York Times reported Friday. Microsoft declined comment.