On Sept. 18, the Department of Commerce announced prohibitions on TikTok and WeChat to go into effect midnight on Sunday, Sept. 20.
Sept. 18, the Department of Commerce announced these safeguards to United States national security to be put into effect after Trump’s Executive Orders signed on August 6. His reason for the orders is concerns that the Chinese Communist Party is using the private data collected from more than 100 million U.S. users of these two apps to spy on America.
On Sunday, Sept. 20, TikTok and WeChat will be taken off of all app stores, according to CNN. Users who have already downloaded TikTok will still have access to the app; however, the app will cease to be updated and maintained for U.S. users, according to CNN.
But, hope is not lost yet, as ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is currently trying to find solutions before November 12, the deadline for resolutions to be found before further restrictions are enforced. At the moment, ByteDance is doing negotiations with Oracle, an American software maker.
“Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” TikTok said, “and we’re committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
On the other hand, WeChat will have full restrictions on Sunday, prohibiting users from hosting or transferring internet traffic on the app.
“Following the initial executive order on Aug. 6, we have engaged in extensive discussions with the U.S. government, and have put forward a comprehensive proposal to address its concerns,” Tencent said in a statement. “The restrictions announced today are unfortunate, but given our desire to provide ongoing services to our users in the U.S. — for whom WeChat is an important communication tool — we will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the U.S. ways to achieve a long-term solution.”
Although Apple complies with each country’s local laws, if they carry out the restrictions and rid TikTok and WeChat from the App Store, they are at risk for retaliation from being a market in China. This is because China is the second-largest market for Apple, and all of its products are assembled in China. Following the restriction order may be seen as siding with America in this battle between the U.S. and China.
TikTok sued the Trump administration last month, claiming to have been denied due process, and tech companies have noted that the ban infringes on the First Amendment.
This is just the beginning.
The government has already been questioning other Chinese companies, such as Epic Games, that have apps with many U.S. users. Some popular apps by Epic Games are Fortnite, Call of Duty: Mobile and Spotify.
Although proponents of the ban argue that these apps are collecting data from their users, this is an ineffective argument as even apps created in the U.S., such as Facebook and Google, gather data from their users as well.
It seems that one of the solutions that the Trump administration is hoping for is ByteDance giving the U.S. more control over TikTok.
“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. “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.”