U.S. BANNING TIKTOK, WECHAT FROM APP STORES
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it will ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores on Sunday and will bar the apps from accessing essential internet services in the U.S. — a move that could effectively wreck the operation of both Chinese services for U.S. users.
TikTok won’t face the most drastic sanctions until after the Nov. 3 election, but WeChat users could feel the effects as early as Sunday.
The order, which cited national security and data privacy concerns, follows weeks of dealmaking over the video-sharing service TikTok. President Donald Trump has pressured the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a domestic company to satisfy U.S. concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.
California tech giant Oracle recently struck a deal with TikTok along those lines, although details remain foggy and the administration is still reviewing it. Trump said Friday that he was open to a deal, noting that “we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy,” suggesting that even Microsoft, which said its TikTok bid had been rejected, might continue to be involved, as well as Oracle and Walmart.
Trump noted that TikTok was “very, very popular,” said “we have to have the total security from China,” and added that “we can do a combination of both.”
The new order puts pressure on TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, to make further concessions, said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.