WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. Commerce Department will ban people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok starting on Sunday.
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 President Trump’s approval.
The Commerce Department will order the “deplatform” of the two apps in the United States and bar Apple’s app store and Google Play from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States.”
“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,” Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross said in a statement.
The order will not ban U.S. companies from doing business on WeChat outside the United States. U.S. firms like Walmart and Starbucks use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programs to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China, Reuter reported.
As of September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited:
1. Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.;
2. Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
As of September 20, 2020, for WeChat and as of November 12, 2020, for TikTok, the following transactions are prohibited:
1. Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
2. Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
3. Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.;
4. Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.
According to the Commerce Department, the prohibitions may be lifted later if national security risks by TikTok are resolved.
“The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted,” the department said.
NewsNation has reached out to TikTok, WeChat, Apple and Google and will update the story when we receive statements.
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