fter a lot of back and forth with the Chinese social media service and the U.S. over a potential ban which in fact led Oracle taking a stake in the company, it’s now clearer that both TikTok and WeChat will be barred from U.S. downloads starting from Sunday in an announcement made by the US government under the Trump’s administration on Friday.
“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 US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement. “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.”
ByteDance might have been expecting something like this since the relationship of the short video sharing service it owned, TikTok has had a rift with the US government for a while now over security issues. Its alleged that TikTok is too risky to be allowed in the country even though the company had endlessly stated that the Chinese government never meddled with it’s affair by any means.
Also ByteDance did make it known that it keeps US users data backed up in Singapore and not China as issues about the company being potentially forced by the Chinese government to hand over American users’ data over.
US President Donald Trump then signed an executive order back on August 6th banning US transactions on WeChat and calling the instant messaging service which is owned by Tencent a “significant” threat to national security.
Call for US companies to acquire TikTok was called for by the US President or they be banned in the country but he had been reviewing the recent deal with Oracle which would make the latter a “trusted technology provider” in the US for TikTok which was meant to address the “National security” rhetoric.
According to Ross’s address on Friday, he stated that the threats posed by both WeChat and TikTok are similar but not identical and added that they both have a potential “unacceptable risks to our national security.” before stating the prohibition will protect US users by eliminating access to the apps and significantly reducing their functionality.
So from Sunday, the Commerce Department is prohibiting “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 US” as well as “any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the US.”
Then the prohibition of TikTok will start on November 12 while WeChat will get axed on Sunday. The prohibition includes “internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization” of the apps and prohibiting using the mobile apps’ “constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the US,” according to the Commerce Department.
Meanwhile there is the open window of opportunity to get the ban lifted if TikTok is able to address the national security concerns before November 12th deadline.
ByteDance, Tencent and the Chinese Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.