US Downloads of TikTok and WeChat to Be Banned on Sunday

The U.S. Commerce Department is moving to ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat within the United States from this Sunday (via Reuters).

tiktok logo

The U.S. Commerce Department plans to issue an order today that will "deplatform" WeChat and TikTok by banning people in the United States from downloading the apps. The order will take effect from Sunday, September 20.

U.S. government officials speaking to Reuters said that the ban on downloads of TikTok could still be rescinded before it takes effect late on Sunday, providing that TikTok owner ByteDance can agree on a deal to sell its U.S. operations.

Commerce Department officials said they were taking the unprecedented step of banning the apps because of the risks posed by their data collection practices and Chinese ownership. ByteDance and WeChat-owner Tencent Holdings have repeatedly denied that U.S. data collection is used for spying.

"We have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

ByteDance has been in serious talks with U.S. cloud computing company Oracle for some time, and proposed an agreement to form a new company called "TikTok Global," in order to address U.S. security concerns. ByteDance still requires the approval of President Donald Trump to acquiesce to a deal and prevent a ban, and there is doubt about whether an agreement will be reached.

All domestic app stores, including the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, will be compelled to remove both apps on any platform "that can be reached from within the United States." Other apps from ByteDance and Tencent, such as games, will continue to be available under this order.

The order will only ban the apps within the United States, and U.S. companies, such as Walmart and Starbucks, will still be able to conduct business using TikTok and WeChat outside of the U.S. as they currently do.

The Commerce Department also said that it will not seek to compel people in the United States to remove the apps or stop using them, but it will forbid further updates or new downloads. A Commerce official said "We are aiming at a top corporate level. We're not going to go out after the individual users."

The order will also bar "additional technical transactions," "content delivery services," "peering services," and data hosting within the United States, meaning that the usability and functionality of the apps for those who already have them in the United States will degrade significantly. For TikTok, to give more time to secure a deal, the degradation in existing service will not take place until November 12.

It is unclear if the news from U.S. Commerce Department officials is intended to serve as a warning-shot to hasten a deal for TikTok with Oracle, or if the White House, dissatisfied with Oracle's proposal, is truly seeking to ban TikTok outright. WeChat is not being considered for an acquisition deal and therefore cannot avoid the ban.

President Trump initially issued an executive order on August 6 that gave the Commerce Department 45 days to determine what apps posed a national security threat. This is why the ban comes into effect on Sunday. Today's new order is set to be published in full at 8:45 a.m. EDT.

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Top Rated Comments

Dwalls90 Avatar
7 months ago

What I find interesting is that you equate the US government's banning of these apps for the stated desire of protecting American citizens from snooping by the CCP to the Chinese government's banning of other apps and services for the stated desire of not being able to have a back door to further snoop on their own citizens.

You can argue whether or not the US government is being disingenuous in this, but the two situations aren't, from a stated purpose, apples to apples.
But you're fine with Facebook, a company that has been proven to have been complicit in the interference of American democracy and harvests as much data as Tik Tok, to not be subject to a similar ban, simply because they are a US company? You're fine with the US government having the same level of information on you that the CCP may have access to? Once data is taken, it is almost impossible to protect from being shared or hacked. I promise you that any data of you that has been collected by a US company, has been hacked at least once if not various times by a foreign country (China, Russia, etc.).

EDIT: The irony of the situation is that Facebook (a company that also benefits from this, since they just released Instagram Reels, which competes against Tik Tok) Stoked Washington’s Fears About TikTok ('https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-stoked-washingtons-fears-about-tiktok-11598223133'). It's starting to feel like Trump and Zuckerberg are basically in bed together. Zuckerberg gets richer, while Trump gets to benefit from Facebook's election interference.
Score: 61 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
7 months ago
What I find interesting is that a lot of the same people who defend this throw a fit when China does similar.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
7 months ago
Then ban Facebook, Google and all the other American Apps too.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ugahairydawgs Avatar
7 months ago

What I find interesting is that a lot of the same people who defend this throw a fit when China does similar.
What I find interesting is that you equate the US government's banning of these apps for the stated desire of protecting American citizens from snooping by the CCP to the Chinese government's banning of other apps and services for the stated desire of not being able to have a back door to further snoop on their own citizens.

You can argue whether or not the US government is being disingenuous in this, but the two situations aren't, from a stated purpose, apples to apples.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
7 months ago

What I find interesting is that you equate the US government's banning of these apps for the stated desire of protecting American citizens from snooping by the CCP to the Chinese government's banning of other apps and services for the stated desire of not being able to have a back door to further snoop on their own citizens.

You can argue whether or not the US government is being disingenuous in this, but the two situations aren't, from a stated purpose, apples to apples.
Let’s be real, Trump got butthurt he got trolled over tiktok for his Oklahoma rally. That’s what happened.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MLVC Avatar
7 months ago

So Chinese people in USA buying the iPhone 12 will be unable to download WeChat to talk with their friends and family?

Sounds like more people will buy Samsung phones from now on.
How exactly will buying a Samsung circumvent this?
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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