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US To Ban TikTok, WeChat From App Stores On Sunday

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The U.S government announced Friday that it will ban WeChat and TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday.

The order is an escalation against the two Chinese-owned apps that have massive user bases in the U.S.

WeChat users will also be banned from transferring funds and processing payments through the messaging apps starting Sunday.

The Commerce Department restrictions will also bar companies from providing internet hosting, content delivery networks or peering services for WeChat or use any of the app’s code, functions or services within the U.S. as of Sunday. The same restrictions will apply to TikTok starting Nov. 12.

In a press release on Friday September 18, the department stated: “In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.

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The following transactions will be prohibited:

Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.”

These measures ensure TikTok and WeChat will be removed from iOS and Google Play starting Sunday, preventing users from downloading the apps or updating them in the future.

A spokesperson for TikTok condemned the new restrictions, saying that the proposed deal with Oracle would already address the data transparency and security concerns.

“Our community of 100 million U.S. 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,” they told The Hill Friday.

They added: “In our proposal to the U.S. 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 U.S. government oversight of U.S. data security.

Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the U.S., which would include all services and data serving U.S. consumers.”

Users that already have TikTok downloaded on their phones will not be directly affected unless the second round of restrictions take effect.

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