The U.S. government threatened to ban TikTok and WeChat if no suitable U.S. company bought it, and even though TikTok and Oracle just recently signed a deal as "trusted tech partners," that apparently wasn't enough. The U.S. Commerce Department today shared that TikTok and WeChat will not be available for download from U.S. app stores anymore starting Sunday, September 20, confirming the initial announcement on August 6.
The news shouldn't be too surprising. The government wanted to have the U.S. portion of TikTok sold to a U.S. company, and the Oracle deal TikTok owner ByteDance struck isn't a straight sale — there's only language revolving around the businesses becoming "trusted tech partners." Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement:
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. 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 WeChat might stop functioning in the U.S. on September 20 right away, TikTok might remain accessible for existing users through November 12, 2020. The Commerce Department says that starting with that date, U.S. companies are prohibited from providing internet hosting and other services to TikTok. It's unclear why this second part of the ban isn't effective immediately — it's possible the government wants to give Oracle and ByteDance some time to re-negotiate the specifics of their deal.
The ban is from the table for now. Check our coverage for more.
- Commerce Department
- Gurkanwal Singh