Trump orders ByteDance to sell TikTok within 90 days

Trump's latest effort to ramp up pressure on the Chinese company

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In the United States, President Trump has issued an executive order looking to force China’s ByteDance to divest its U.S. operations in TikTok within 90 days, in another twist to his never-ending feud with China.

The order seems to overlap with one issued last week, which barred transactions with TikTok unless it was divested in 45 days. However, the latest order is more direct about divesting the stake, and offers a bit more time for ByteDance to find a buyer.

Trump’s executive order said there is “credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

The order directs ByteDance to also divest any data it has obtained from users of TikTok or in the United States. It also authorises U.S. officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance’s books to ensure the safety of personal data while talks are ongoing.

ByteDance is currently in the process of discussions to sell the North America, Australia and New Zealand operations of TikTok to Microsoft.

Trump has said he would support an effort by Microsoft to buy TikTok’s American operations if the U.S. government got a “substantial portion” of the proceeds, but has also said there are other interested potential buyers.

ByteDance said on Friday in response to the order:

“that it is used by 100 million Americans because it is their home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”

TikTok said it spent nearly a year trying to engage in “good faith” with the U.S. government to address these concerns.

“What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” the company’s statement added.

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