The U.S will ban all TikTok and WeChat app downloads from Sunday 20 September 2020, according to a government order published Friday.
According to the order, the bans were placed on the two Chinese-owned apps “to safeguard the national security of the United States.”
The order, issued by the US Commerce Department, bans the two apps from either Apple or Google’s app storefronts effectively blocking new downloads. In addition, anyone currently using either of the two apps would not receive updates.
As of September 20 the Commerce Department confirmed it will prohibit: “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 US.”
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A broader ban of TikTok will be delayed until Nov. 12, according to the order since US hosting providers and content delivery networks will be barred from providing their services.
The order adds: “The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted.”
It is not clear what power the US government has to order Apple and Google to remove apps from their stores.
The ban could still be rescinded ahead of Sunday if TikTok finalizes its deal with US tech giant Oracle before the September 20 deadline according to Business Insider.
Oracle and TikTok submitted a proposed deal to the US government for approval on Monday, with an eye to staving off earlier executive orders from President Trump that would ban TikTok if its U.S business isn’t sold.
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” U.S Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a press statement Friday.
“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,” Ross added.
In two executive orders on August President Trump characterized both TikTok and WeChat as national security risks because they are owned by Chinese companies.
The Trump administration has accused TikTok of passing along US user data to the Chinese government. TikTok denies this and is currently suing the US government over the order, alleging it was denied due process.
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