US Government Is Banning TikTok and WeChat From App Stores as of September 20
The Commerce Department has officially issued the order this Friday. However, the full ban of TikTok will occur if a deal is not made with a US company by November 12.
As of this Sunday, September 20, people in the United States will not be able to download the popular Chinese-owned social apps WeChat and TikTok. The US Department of Commerce made its announcement Friday morning. As mentioned by the Department of Commerce in its official statement, "...the Department of Commerce today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States."
According to the official Reuters report, TikTok currently has 100 million users in the United States. The app has been widely popular, attracting many young Americans. Though not as big, WeChat is also popular with an estimated 19 million active users daily and over 1 billion users worldwide. A vast majority of users within the States are Chinese students, ex-pats, and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
The official block of TikTok has not occurred yet.
TikTok recently made headlines after it announced its potential deal with the massive technology company Oracle. For TikTok to continue to operate in the United States, it was announced that the video-sharing app needed to find a trusted technology partner in the United States.
If TikTok does not succeed in finding a partner, the app will no longer be available to people in the US. Currently, TikTok's parent company ByteDance is in talks with Oracle and several other candidates to create a new company that would meet the US government's concerns of user data security. However, for this deal to move forward, it will need to be approved by President Trump.
The current downloads block will not prohibit Apple, Google, or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.
Transactions and App offerings will be allowed to occur outside of the United States. The Department of Commerce is taking these extraordinary measures because they deemed these apps a national security threat. Like the whole affair with Huawei, officials in the US believe the Chinese owned apps are being used to spy on citizens.
Interesting Engineering will be following this story closely.