President Donald Trump has banned Tiktok and WeChat in the U.S. which will take in effect starting tomorrow, September 20. Fox Business reports, "The Commerce Department announced Friday morning that it will prohibit U.S. business transactions with messaging app WeChat starting Sept. 20 and video-sharing app TikTok on Nov. 12."
The ban follows Trump administration's claim that the Chinese-owned apps "threaten national security and could pass user data to China," writes BBC.com. "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," said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
But Tiktok denies the allegation in a statement issued by the company on its website. "We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request," Tiktok says.
The popular short-form mobile video app has also taken steps to sue the administration. Tiktok says that the "Executive Order issued by the Administration on August 6, 2020 has the potential to strip the rights of that community without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process." The company shares the basis of their complaint which states that the Trump administration has ignored their efforts to address the app's security issues, their willingness to serve the U.S. market, and misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Additionally, the Executive Order says that "while the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar." Thus, the decision to ban this two specific apps. "Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security," it says.
What does the order mean for WeChat and Tiktok users?
Starting sunday, people from the U.S. will no longer be able to use WeChat to transfer funds or process payments to or from people in the U.S..
TikTok users will still be able to access their app, but they will not be able to download new updates. "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," said the U.S. Department of Commerce.