The Department of Commerce has ordered that downloads for mobile apps TikTok and WeChat be banned in the US from Sunday.
American users will not be able to download the apps after September 20. Those with the apps already downloaded will still be able to use them, but they won’t be able to access any future updates for TikTok or WeChat, which may damage their functionality.
The apps will be fully banned and made illegal on November 12 if President Trump’s security concerns with TikTok and WeChat are not resolved by that date. Oracle was recently negotiating to become TikTok’s ‘trusted tech partner’ in the U.S. – if that deal goes ahead, the ban can be reversed.
You can read the full release from the Department of Commerce here, in which Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross details the reasons behind the order. According to Ross, this order has been issued to “safeguard the national security of the United States.”
“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.”
This move follows Executive Orders signed by Trump in August which sought to block TikTok and WeChat’s operations in the US if they were not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent.
Microsoft was in discussions to purchase TikTok in the United States after the app fell under scrutiny from the Trump administration. Microsoft has since said that TikTok operator ByteDance would not sell them its US operations.