Trump on Sunday to block US downloads of Tiktok, WeChat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration will ban WeChat and the video-sharing app TikTok from the American App Store starting Sunday night, a move that would prevent Americans from downloading Chinese-owned platforms, a national security threat. Create.

A person has a smartphone because the Tik Tok logo is displayed in this picture illustration. REUTERS / Dedo Rouvic / Illustration

Current TikTok users will see little change on Sunday and US Department of Commerce officials said they would not hold additional technical transactions for TikTok until November 12, giving the company time to see if the owner ByteDance could reach a compromise on the fate of its American works.

“The basic Tiktok will remain intact until November 12,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ros told Fox Business Network on Friday.

The ban on new US downloads of the widely popular app could still be saved by President Donald Trump before it took effect.

ByteDance is negotiating with Oracle Corp and others to create a new company, Ticketok Global, which aims to address US concerns about the security of its users’ data.

ByteDance still needs Trump’s approval to remove the US ban.

A senior Commerce Department official told Reuters that the Commerce Department has barred Apple Inc.’s App Store, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play and others from offering applications on any platform.

The department said the action would “protect users in the US by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.”

Oracle shares fell 1.6% after news in pre-market trading.

Officials said the order would not prohibit US companies from doing business on WeChat outside the United States, which would be welcome news for US companies such as Walmart and Starbucks to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China Uses WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programs, officials said. .

The order will not prohibit transactions with other businesses of WeChat owner Tencent Holdings, including its online gaming operations, and Apple, Google or others from offering AppleTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.

Bain is in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump on August 6 that have given the Commerce Department 45 days to determine whether to block them from apps they considered a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.

Commerce Department officials said they were taking extraordinary steps because of the risk of data collection of apps. China and companies have denied that US user data has been collected for espionage.

Ross said in a written statement, “We have taken significant action to combat the malicious collection of personal data of American citizens of China while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms and aggressive enforcement of American laws and regulations.” “

Apple and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Popular apps

The Trump administration has intensified efforts to purge “unreliable” Chinese apps from American digital networks and called Tiktok and WeChat a “significant threat”.

TikTok has 100 million users in the United States and is particularly popular among young Americans.

Analytics firms Aptia said in early August that WeChat has an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States. It is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats, and some Americans who have personal or professional relationships in China.

WeChat is an all-in-one mobile app that combines services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Venmo. The application is an essential part of daily life for many people in China and boasts over 1 billion users.

The Commerce Department will not try to force people in the United States to remove apps or stop using them but will not allow updates or new downloads. “We are aiming at a top corporate level. We are not going out after individual users, said a commerce official.

Over time, officials said, the lack of updates would reduce the usability of apps.

“The hope is that people will find alternative ways to do these tasks,” said a senior official. “We expect the market to take action and have more secure apps that will fill these gaps that Americans can trust and that the United States government will not have to take similar action against it.”

Commerce is also blocking additional technical transactions with WeChat starting Sunday which will significantly reduce the utility and functionality of the app in the United States.

WeChat for Orders hosts content delivery services and data hosting within the United States for networks that can enhance functionality and Internet transit or pairing services.

“Whatever is going to happen is going to make users experience a shortage or lack of functionality,” said a senior commercial official at WeChat. “It may still be usable but not as functional as it was.” The official said that sporadic outages may also occur.

Commerce for TikTok will prohibit the same set of technical transactions, but it will not take effect until November 12 if the company is given extra time to see if Bytdans deal for its US operations Can do. The official said that Ticketok US users will not see “a big difference” in the app’s performance until 12 November.

In the United States, people using TikTok or WeChat will not impose commerce penalties.

The order does not prohibit data storage within the United States for WeChat or TikTok.

Some Americans may find a workaround. There is nothing that can prevent an American from traveling to a foreign country and either downloading the app, or possibly using a virtual private network and a desktop client, officials considered.

Reporting by David Shepperson; Editing by Chris Sanders, Lincoln Feast and Carmel Crimmins


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