TikTok & WeChat downloads will be banned in the United States
- The Trump administration said on Friday that starting Sunday, China-owned TikTok and WeChat apps will be banned from the US app store.
- Limiting the weeks of efforts by the US and Chinese authorities to reach an agreement that will allow the popular software to continue to operate.
Both TikTok and WeChat are widely used around the world. TikTok is a social networking application popular among teenagers that allows users to post short videos that are usually set to music.
WeChat, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, combines messaging, social media, and mobile payment functions.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement that these actions are part of President Donald Trump’s campaign to protect American consumers and businesses from “threat by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“Under the guidance of the President, we have taken major actions to combat China’s malicious collection of personal data of U.S. citizens, while promoting our national values, norms based on democratic rules, and active enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”
Before the announcement, Trump called on Beijing-based ByteDance to sell TikTok, otherwise, it may be banned in the United States.
The Obama administration is reviewing a transaction between Oracle and ByteDance that will make the American company a “trusted technology provider” for TikTok in the United States to address national security issues.
Friday’s decision means that TikTok and WeChat will not be available for download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store from Sunday. After that, people who already have the app will not be able to download the update.
After Sunday, WeChat will stop working in the United States, although TikTok will continue to work until November 12, which provides the company with a window to reach an agreement so that it can continue to operate in the United States.
At a press conference on Friday, when asked whether an agreement will be reached before the November U.S. presidential election, Trump said that an agreement with TikTok was “progressing very fast” and “very, very fast.”
Trump said: “We have some good choices, maybe we can satisfy many people, but have the security we need.” “We must have comprehensive security from China.”
TikTok expressed frustration with the government’s decision on Friday and pointed out that the government has made efforts to solve the problem.
“In our recommendations to the U.S. government, we have committed to achieving unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability, far beyond what other applications are willing to do, including third-party audits, code security verification, and the U.S. government’s Data monitoring and security,” a TikTok spokesperson said in an email. “Also, a U.S. technology provider will be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the U.S., which includes all services and data for American consumers.“
Since the beginning of this summer, TikTok’s future in the United States has been in trouble. Trump has been in a dilemma after worrying about the application that his Chinese parent company ByteDance may be forced to provide data about US users to the Chinese government.
ByteDance said it keeps user data in the US and backs it up in Singapore. The company said it would not provide data to the Chinese government if asked.
Trump also signed an executive order on August 6 prohibiting US transactions on WeChat, saying that the messaging app poses a “major” threat to national security.
The Chinese Embassy noted on Friday that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement earlier this week that American politicians are “using national security as an excuse to suppress and coerce non-US companies.”
The statement stated that China will “firmly support relevant companies in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests and safeguarding international economic and trade rules.”
TikTok’s lack of updates in the next two months has caused security concerns because its millions of users in the United States will no longer be able to obtain security patches.
TikTok patched multiple security vulnerabilities discovered in its application last year. The US Department of Commerce defended its actions and stated that these applications may not be secure in contact with the Chinese government.