US banned the use of WeChat, TikTok for national security
TikTok and WeChat are in their last gasps as they face a ban from US app stores from Sunday unless President Donald Trump agrees to a last-minute deal.
If a planned partnership between US tech firm Oracle and TikTok owner ByteDance is agreed and approved by President Trump, the app will not be banned.
It is not yet clear whether Trump will approve the deal, but he is expected to review it before the Sunday deadline.
The Department of Commerce confirmed that it would bar people in the US from downloading the messaging and video-sharing apps through any app store on any platform.
TikTok however countered the charges saying it had already committed to “unprecedented levels of additional transparency.” It added that it was deeply disappointed.
“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.”
The Trump administration has accused the companies of being a threat to national security as they could possibly pass user data to China.
But China and both companies deny this.
WeChat will effectively shut down in the US on Sunday, but people will still be able to use TikTok until November 12, when it could also be fully banned.
The ban order from the Department of Commerce follows President Trump’s executive orders signed in August. It gave US businesses 45 days to stop working with either Chinese company.
“At the president’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens‘ personal data,” the US Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
The department acknowledged that the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok were not identical but said that each collected “vast swathes of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories”.