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Trump's attack on TikTok is setting off alarm bells in Silicon Valley about how any foreign deal is now at risk of 'unpredictable' government intervention

Trump's attack on TikTok is setting off alarm bells in Silicon Valley about how any foreign deal is now at risk of 'unpredictable' government intervention
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



The Trump administration's moves to throttle TikTok are serving as a kind-of wake-up call for the venture and startup communities about the risk of doing business with foreign companies and investors.




The administration's attack on TikTok has been rooted in two longstanding authorities that it has been using more aggressively to scrutinize foreign investment, particularly in tech firms.




Both authorities give presidents and their aide wide discretion to act in the interests of national security, a concept that they are free to define for themselves and increasingly has been considered to encompass economic issues.




Venture investors say the moves add to the risks of dealing with foreign buyers and investors and may make them wary of doing so.




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The Trump administration's crackdown on TikTok has served as a kind of wake-up call for Silicon Valley about the risks of getting in bed with foreign investors and companies.
On Friday, the president issued an executive order ordering TikTok parent ByteDance to undo the merger that led to the app's expansion into the US and around the world. The order followed one from last week that would effectively ban the video-sharing app in the US. And those actions came in the wake of threats by the administration to force a sale of TikTok's US and other operations and essentially undo a years-old acquisition that paved the way for its expansion into this country.
Together, the moves show the increasingly skeptical view the US government is taking of foreign investment — particularly from China — into technology and internet companies. They also illustrate the president's far-reaching powers to block or unwind such deals — even years after the fact — or to throttle foreign-owned companies seeking to do business in the US.
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