President Donald Trump's administration is set to restrict TikTok and WeChat, beginning on Sunday night. According to CNBC, the U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that it will ban all American business transactions with the Chinese-owned social apps. The move comes after Trump expressed concerns over the security of the apps, and signed an executive order in August, giving TikTok 45 days to sell or be banned in America. That time period expires on Sunday.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the plan to ban TikTok. "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," he said. Microsoft previously announced that it would buy TikTok, but later stated that it had pulled out of the plan due to its bid being rejected. Curiously, CNBC states that Trump still cited them as a possible buyer, in spite of the company's statement.
TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the US starting this Sunday, September 20th:
“Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party.”September 18, 2020
In an August statement, Microsoft said that it "fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns" and "is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury." With the tech giant apparently out, it appears that tech company Oracle is the next in line for bidding. Trump stated that he believes a deal will be made quickly.
TikTok has been the focus but as @suhaunah reported last month, WeChat is a lifeline for the Chinese diaspora. A ban could cut off their primary means of connecting with family thousands of miles away & cut them off from their cultural community herehttps://t.co/JCAieObGw4— Johana Bhuiyan (@JMBooyah) September 18, 2020
WeChat, one of the world’s most popular social messaging apps, is now owned by TikTok, but rather, is owned by the Chinese company Tencent. TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, a Beijing-based group. In his previous executive order, Trump cited both app-based companies as being security-risks. "The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," he stated.