September 21, 2020
In a move that will sharply raise tensions with Beijing from app—and infuriate about 100 million American active users—the Trump Administration has announced that it is banning China’s virally popular TikTok, as well as the less sought-after WeChat, from mobile app stores beginning September 20, The Washington Post reports.
On Sunday, the United States also will ban any provision of Internet hosting services that enables WeChat to be used for money transfers or mobile payments. The Administration will give TikTok until November 12 until further bans kick in.
Western companies and bankers still continue to wrangle with TikTok’s owner, the White House, and Chinese authorities to try to arrange a sale of some of TikTok’s business, the Post says. Indeed, TikTok’s partnership with a U.S. corporation— most likely Oracle—could save it in this country, but details about such decisions remain unclear.
“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,” U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said 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.”
Meanwhile, the Independent reports, TikTok denies that it has shared user data with the Chinese government, or that it would do so if asked. The company says it has not censored videos at the request of Chinese authorities and insists it is not a national-security threat.
“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,” Commerce said in its statement.
Research contact: @washingtonpost