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TikTok cannot stay in current format in US: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

His comments came two days after President Donald Trump on Friday said he will act to ban TikTok in the US, amidst reports of American technology giant Microsoft being in advanced talks to acquire the popular video sharing platform. "I've said publicly that it's under review.

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 02-08-2020 23:47 IST | Created: 02-08-2020 23:42 IST
TikTok cannot stay in current format in US: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Representative image Image Credit: Pixabay

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said the Chinese-owned video app, TikTok, cannot stay in the current format in the US as it "risks sending back information on 100 million Americans". His comments came two days after President Donald Trump on Friday said he will act to ban TikTok in the US, amidst reports of American technology giant Microsoft being in advanced talks to acquire the popular video sharing platform.

"I've said publicly that it's under review. I will say publicly that the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans," Mnuchin, who chairs the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, told the ABC News in an interview. Mnuchin said he has spoken to several top American lawmakers and all agree that "there has to be a change". "The president can either force a sale or the president can block the app using IEEPA (International Emergency Economic Powers Act). And I'm not going to comment on my specific discussions with the president," he said in response to a question.

Trump on Friday said he could use the emergency economic powers or an executive order to ban TikTok in the US. The president also made it clear that he was not in favour of a deal to let a US company buy TikTok's American operations. India has banned as many as 106 Chinese apps, including TikTok, a move welcomed by both the Trump administration and the US lawmakers.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that Microsoft, headed by Indian-American Satya Nadella, is in advanced talks to acquire the US operations of TikTok. The deal could run into billions of dollars. China-based ByteDance is the parent company of TikTok.

In recent weeks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused TikTok of collecting personal information of Americans. Media reports also said the Trump administration will soon order ByteDance to divest of its ownership of TikTok's US operations.


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