TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the United States starting this Sunday, September 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce has announced.
The move comes after President Donald Trump gave a thumbs down to a proposed deal between U.S. firm Oracle and ByteDance, the Chinese developer of both apps.
From the announcement:
…The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “At the President’s direction, 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.”
While the order will force the apps to be removed from the Google and Apple App Stores, users will still be able to use the apps, but they won’t be able to be updated.
While Apple and Google could use “kill switches” to delete apps from users’ devices. It isn’t clear if Google or Apple would do so without a legal challenge.
While the president could reverse the ban before it goes into effect on late Sunday, the likelihood of such a move doesn’t appear to be good.