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The Trump Administration Is Banning Americans From Downloading TikTok And WeChat


Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The Trump administration said Friday that it will block people in the United States from downloading popular Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat starting Sunday. Both apps are used by over 100 million people in the country.

According to a US Department of Commerce order, new downloads of the apps will be banned from US app stores as of September 20. WeChat, an app popular with Chinese nationals in the United States, will also be banned from hosting content, processing payments within the US, and sending money to other WeChat users in the country among other restrictions. TikTok will face similar restrictions starting on November 12, which means that existing users will no longer be able to access TikTok videos after that date.

If you already have TikTok downloaded on your phone, it will continue to work at least until November 12.

“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.,” a press release from the Commerce Department stated.

“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,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Apple, Google, and TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In early August, President Trump signed an executive order declaring TikTok as a “national emergency” saying that it would be effectively banned from the country in 45 days unless a US company bought their American operations. Last month, ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, sued the Trump administration and challenged the ban in a federal court.

ByteDance was initially in talks with Microsoft to sell its US operations, but a deal did not come through. ByteDance has since been in conversations with Oracle and Walmart to create a new company, TikTok Global, to assuage the Trump administration’s concerns over people’s data. The deal, however, has not yet been finalized.

Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.

The Commerce Department’s press release said that TikTok had until November 12 to resolve the Trump administration’s concerns, and if it did, it could be allowed back into app stores.

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