The TikTok Ban Is Happening and Begins Sunday
WeChat and TikTok will no longer be available in app stores as of September 20.
On Friday, the Commerce Department announced that downloads of WeChat and TikTok in United States app stores will be banned beginning Sunday, September 20. Transferring of funds and payment processing through WeChat will also be banned starting that day. The decision comes after President Donald Trump issued executive orders targeting the Chinese social media apps over security concerns.
"Today's announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality," the Commerce Department 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."
While Americans will no longer be able to download TikTok or WeChat and WeChat users will not be able to use the messaging app to send payments, if you already have TikTok downloaded to your phone, you're still in good shape — for now. The Commerce Department will wait until November 12, a few days after the election, to issue a full ban on TikTok. Additionally, if you had previously downloaded and deleted TikTok from your phone, starting Sunday, you won't be able to download it again, even if you have an account. Software updates that fix bugs and add features will also be unavailable for U.S. users.
Many have stated that the order is a violation of the First Amendment, and that the Trump administration is wrong for imposing this on Americans. "This order issued today violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on TikTok and WeChat," the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.
To avoid the ban from happening completely, TikTok owner ByteDance has been in talks with California tech company Oracle, to allow them to have a stake in TikTok's global business. The hope is that such a deal would appease the president's concerns about U.S. citizens' information being misused by China.