Downloads Of TikTok And WeChat To Be Blocked In US From Sunday, Officials Claim
The President has been talking about banning the popular messaging and social video apps for a while now because of their Chinese ownership, and now The Commerce Department will issue an order blocking the two apps from American download stores.
The Commerce officials said that the TikTok ban could still potentially be overturned before it comes to pass late on Sunday.
President Donald Trump has the power to overturn the ruling, but only if TikTok's owner ByteDance can reach an agreement over the fate of the company's operations in the USA.
The idea is that ByteDance can create a new company called TikTok Global that would go some way to addressing the concerns that the US government has over the security of users' data.
However, it would still have to get Trump to agree to that, if the ban is to be reversed.
The Commerce Department will not block additional technical transactions made by TikTok until 12 November, which also buys the company a bit of time to reach the aforementioned agreement.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network: "The basic TikTok will stay intact until Nov. 12."
The Commerce officials further said that their actions will 'protect users in the US by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality'.
This plan to 'de-platform' the two popular apps means that they won't be available on Google Play, Apple Inc's App Store or any other app store 'that can be reached from within the United States'.
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This extraordinary step has been taken because of the perceived risks that the data collection of the app poses.
China, as well as the companies that owns the apps, has strenuously denied collecting the user data from US users for spying.
In a written statement, Ross continued: "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 US laws and regulations."
The ban was the result of an executive order signed by Donald Trump on 6 August that offered 45 days to the Commerce Department to decide what to do to block apps that he'd deemed as a threat to national security.
That deadline expires on Sunday.
A TikTok spokesperson said: "We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12.
"Our community of 100 million US users love TikTok because it's a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, 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.
"In our proposal to the US Administration, we've already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security.
"Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers.
"We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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