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Trump Administration to Ban U.S. Downloads of TikTok, WeChat Beginning Sunday

  • Commerce Department announces that downloads of TikTok and WeChat apps will be barred in the United States starting Sunday
  • Trump Administration has said the Chinese-owned apps raise cybersecurity concerns, and has pressured TikTok owner ByteDance to sell U.S. operations to an American company
  • TikTok spokeswoman criticizes the decision as harmful to people and businesses who use the app

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Friday that downloads of the apps TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the United States starting Sunday. The decision comes after President Donald Trump issued an executive order in August setting a deadline for TikTok owner ByteDance to sell its U.S. operations to an American company, and after a deal struck with Oracle to be a technology partner failed to satisfy the administration. Another executive order signed in August established a ban on WeChat to go into effect this month.

Existing TikTok users will still be able to use the video-sharing app, which has a widespread youth following, but the experience is likely to degrade as they will not be able to receive any software updates that fix bugs or add updates. Users of WeChat, which includes a mobile payment option, also won’t be able to receive updates and will be forbidden from sending money to any people or businesses that accept WeChat transactions.

The Trump Administration has charged that the apps collect large amounts of user data and can potentially make it available to the Chinese government. The Commerce Department set a new deadline of Nov. 12 for TikTok to resolve security concerns.

A TikTok spokeswoman denounced the decision, saying it deprives American people and businesses of a source of expression and revenue. The company has also called on social media companies Facebook and Instagram to join it in challenging Trump’s executive order.

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