US President Donald Trump had issued an executive order last month on 7th August saying that after 45 days, transactions to Tencent-backed WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok apps will be restricted, effectively banning both the services.
Today, the White House confirmed that it will ban Chinese-owned messaging and payment app WeChat effective Sunday. It will also block new downloads of video-sharing app TikTok the same day.
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, “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. 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.”
Further action against TikTok has been delayed until November 12th, likely to give ByteDance more days to finalize the on-going TikTok deal. To stop TikTok from getting banned in the United States, the government had asked ByteDance to sell the U.S. business to an American firm. It rejected Microsoft’s bid and Oracle was reportedly selected as a “technology partner.”
However, there has been no official announcement from the company regarding this. Soon after reports of Oracle being selected as a technology partner, it was reported that the Chinese government won’t be approving the deal. The deal is reportedly under review by the Treasury Department and President Trump.
TikTok has about 100 million users in the U.S. on a quarterly basis while WeChat has about 19 million daily users in the United States.