Goodbye, TikTok and WeChat in the US.
At least for now.
Popular China-made apps TikTok and WeChat will no longer be available for downloading starting Sunday night in the US, unless a last-minute deal is made with the Trump government.
The controversial move stemmed from the issue of these apps being considered as threats to US national security.
TikTok is a favorite app among the younger set, where short-form mobile videos became viral since subscribers are allowed to express their creativity. WeChat, on the other hand is an all-in-one messaging, social media and e-payment platform.
The ban for TikTok will only affect new downloads and updates. Its parent company ByteDance is currently in talks in the US with the hopes of striking a deal that will give some breathing space for its US operations.
WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings, is looking at harsher restrictions that will render it practically useless in the US since the ban calls for US companies to stop transacting with the app. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is talking to Oracle, a US software company, on the possible transfer of some control of TikTok’s operations to Oracle to ensure security of users’ data.
The US Commerce Department said the prohibitions may be lifted if TikTok can resolve the national security issues being raised by the US government.
Last August 6, President Trump issued an executive order about the two apps. He claimed the apps are used to collect data from American subscribers that could then be retrieved or even used by the Chinese government. Violations will lead to fines of up to $1 million and 20-year imprisonment, according to the order.
ByteDance said in a statement that they “disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed,” while expressing its desire to “continue to challenge the unjust executive order.”
China’s Commerce Ministry, meanwhile, gave its “resolute opposition” as it urged the US to stop its bullying actions
There was no mention if President Trump will back a TikTok deal, which he said “could go quickly.”
However, the American Civil Liberties Union said the Commerce Department order “violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms.”
(Photo credit: VOANews.com)