In a move that will protect Americans from downloading Chinese-owned platforms over concerns they pose a national security threat, the Trump administration will ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday night.
Current TikTok users will see little change on Sunday and U.S. Commerce Department officials said they will not bar additional technical transactions for TikTok until Nov. 12, which gives the company time to see if owner ByteDance can clinch an agreement over the fate of its U.S. operations.
“The basic TikTok will stay intact until Nov. 12,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday.
ByteDance has been in talks with Oracle Corp and others to create a new company, TikTok Global, that aims to address U.S. concerns about the security of its users’ data. ByteDance still needs Trump’s approval to stave off a U.S. ban.
The Commerce Department order bars Apple Inc’s app store, Alphabet Inc’s Google Play and others from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States,” a senior Commerce official told Reuters. The department said the actions will “protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.”
The order will not bar transactions with WeChat-owner Tencent Holdings’ other businesses, including its online gaming operations, and will not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.
MacDailyNews Note: President Trump on August 6th gave the U.S. Commerce Department 45 days to determine what transactions to block from the TikTok and WeChat apps he deemed pose a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]