Unless a Deal is Struck shortly, Apple and Google Stores will have to remove TikTok and WeChat from their U.S. Online Stores on Monday
A new report claims that officials have said the ban on new U.S. downloads of TikTok could still be rescinded by President Donald Trump before it takes effect late Sunday as TikTok owner ByteDance races to clinch an agreement over the fate of its U.S. operations. Technically speaking the deadline is midnight Sunday. Apple is unlikely to remove the Apps from the Apple Store until Monday and why our byline reflects that reality.
The Commerce Department order will "deplatform" the two apps in the United States and bar Apple Inc’s app store, Alphabet Inc’s Google Play and others from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States," a senior Commerce official told Reuters.
The order will not bar transactions with WeChat-owner Tencent Holdings’ other businesses, including its online gaming operations and will not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.
The officials spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made public.
The order will not ban U.S. companies from doing businesses on WeChat outside the United States, which will be welcome news to U.S. firms like Walmart and Starbucks that use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programs to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China.
The bans are in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump on Aug. 6 that gave the Commerce Department 45 days to determine what transactions to block from the apps he deemed pose a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.
Commerce Department officials said they were taking the extraordinary step because of the risks the apps’ data collection poses. China and the companies have denied U.S. user data is collected for spying.
In a statement to Reuters, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said "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."
The order is set to be published at 8:45 a.m. EDT (1245 GMT) on Friday, the officials said.
The Commerce Department will not seek to compel people in the United States to remove the apps or stop using them but will not allow updates or new downloads. "We are aiming at a top corporate level. We’re not going to go out after the individual users," one Commerce official said.
Over time, officials said, the lack of updates will degrade the apps usability.
A senior official told Reuters that "The expectation is that people will find alternative ways to do these actions. We expect the market to act and there will be more secure apps that will fill in these gaps that Americans can trust and that the United States government won’t have to take similar actions against." For more, read the full Reuters report.
Update: 2:30 PT: In a press conference this afternoon President Donald Trump gave the impression that he's still hopeful that a deal could still emerge. No details were divulged.
Our Coverage of this Story began in December 2019
Dec 22: Suspicions are Rising that TikTok is a Spy tool for the Chinese Government as the U.S. Navy bans it as a Cybersecurity Threat
Jan 09: The Latest Security Flaw found in the TikTok App Supports the Governments Belief that the app is a National Security Threat
Jul 31: U.S. President Trump may announce that TikTok has to be sold to a U.S. Company and the odds are that it could be …
Aug 03: Microsoft Confirms that a Deal for TikTok should be Completed by September 15
Aug 08: At the Moment, the Executive Order Banning TikTok and WeChat in the U.S. App Store shouldn't be an issue for Apple
Sep 13: TikTok has chosen Oracle's Deal in the hopes of avoiding an all-out Sale which Could be Blocked by the Trump Administration
Sept 14: With the Deadline of Sept. 20th Fast Approaching, TikTok makes a Last Minute Proposal in the hopes of Avoiding a Total Ban