US will ban download of Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat

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The measure will be effective this Sunday if ByteDance does not reach an agreement for the sale of TikTok to a US company

The Donald Trump Administration has assured this Friday that it will ban the download of the Chinese messaging application WeChat and the video-sharing application TikTok in the United States as of September 20. The Commerce Department clarified this Friday in a statement that they will revoke the order if ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, closes an agreement to sell the application. In an escalation of tension with Beijing, Trump signed an executive order in early August in which he gave the Asian company 90 days to end its operations in the United States, accusing alleged risks to national security that the application used by close to 100 million Americans, particularly teenagers.

The announcement does not mean that TikTok will stop working as of Sunday or that users will have to delete it from their phones. What the measure does is to prohibit the distribution, maintenance and update operations of the application and WeChat on any download platform, such as the Google (Play Store) and Apple (App Store) digital stores, -a movement only valid for U.S-. In the case of WeChat, the actions are more aggressive in the short term. The Department of Commerce will also prohibit the transfer of money or the making of payments within the country from the date indicated.

The US government seeks to “safeguard national security,” according to the Commerce Department statement. “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these applications to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States. The bans announced today (…) eliminate access to these applications and significantly reduce their functionality, “said the letter released early this morning.

“TikTok will remain intact until November 12,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network. This deadline, in addition to giving ByteDance additional time to reach an agreement with a US company, is after the US presidential elections, set for November 3. Negotiations forced by Trump have advanced in the last week. ByteDance chose Oracle as its “technology partner” last Sunday, according to local media, leaving out the proposal of the giant Microsoft.

If the talks between ByteDance and Oracle go ahead, they will create a new company in the US called TikTok Global, with the aim of allaying the Trump Administration’s concerns about the security of its users’ data. Any agreement reached by the Chinese technology company must have Trump’s approval to become effective. In parallel, the social network filed a lawsuit against the US government for wanting to ban the app “Without evidence to justify it” and “putting thousands of jobs at risk”. The Chinese company has indicated that the executive order has the potential to “deprive the millions of users of the platform of their rights.”

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