The Chinese video-sharing app TikTok has long been accused of helping to steal personal information from Americans. In response, President Donald Trump has moved to shut it down.
Fox Business reported this week that the Trump administration will ban new downloads of TikTok beginning on Sunday, with the app to be banned entirely on November 12 if a deal can’t be reached.
WeChat shutdown in the U.S.
The network went on to state that Chinese-owned messaging and online payment service WeChat will be hit with a ban on Sunday as well.
“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,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was quoted as saying in a statement.
Ross provided more details about the new policy during an interview on Friday morning with Fox Business personality Maria Bartiromo.
Ross told Bartiromo regarding WeChat, “For all practical purposes, it will be shut down in the U.S., but only in the U.S., as of midnight Monday.”
Under the new rules, American companies will be barred from hosting the payment and messaging app as well as offering any content delivery or transit services to it.
In contrast, he explained that the approach to TikTok will be more complex, with the only real change as of now being that Americans “won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance.”
TikTok may follow suit
However, TikTok will be subjected to the same restrictions as WeChat if no deal is arrived at between the United States and China on data collection.
According to Ross, “The basic TikTok will stay intact until November 12. If there’s not a deal by November 12 under the provisions of the old order, then TikTok would also be, for all practical purposes, shut down.”
Vanessa Pappas serves as the interim head of TikTok, and she decried the move in a tweet while calling on other social media companies to join a lawsuit that her company has filed, saying, “We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation.”
Update: For now, TikTok looks to be avoiding a shutdown. On Saturday, Trump announced that he has approved a potential partnership between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart.