U.S. Government Could Ban Downloads of TikTok and WeChat on Sunday

The U.S. government will ban the download of TikTok and WeChat in the country starting this Sunday (September 20). An order will be passed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday.

The report claims that President Donald Trump could still revoke the ban on WeChat and TikTok in the U.S. before it comes into effect provided TikTok’s parent company is able to finalise a deal that pleases the U.S. government.

TikTok’s owner ByteDance has been in talks with a number of American companies to enter into an agreement that would please the U.S. government. Microsoft had expressed its interest in acquiring TikTok’s U.S. operations, though it was Oracle that later emerged as the top bidder. For its part, ByteDance has made it clear that it will not be sharing TikTok’s source code or algorithm with any U.S. company. It will reportedly enter into a partnership with Oracle which will be its “trusted tech partner” instead of selling its U.S. operations to them.

The Commerce Department order will “deplatform” the two apps in the United States and bar Apple Inc’s app store, Alphabet Inc’s Google Play and others from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States,” a senior Commerce official told Reuters.

The order will only affect American customers as companies will still be able to continue to use WeChat for business purposes. It will also not bar U.S. companies from doing transactions with Tencent Holding, the owner of WeChat.

In August, the Trump administration had passed an executive order that said if TikTok did not sell itself to an American company, it would be banned in the country. TikTok was already banned in India in August, the app’s largest market by user base.

Our Take

From the wording, it looks like the ban will only lead to TikTok being removed from the Google Play Store and App Store. The app should seemingly continue to work for users who have already installed it.

Do you use TikTok on a regular basis? What app will you switch to if TikTok gets banned in the United States?

[Via Reuters]