Americans will no longer be able to download TikTok and WeChat starting on Sunday when the Trump administration will have it banned from U.S. app stores.
The Commerce Department issued an order Friday that will bar people in the United States from downloading the Chinese-owned video sharing app and messaging app after this weekend.
People who already have the apps on their phones will be able to keep using TikTok – but not able to download updates – while WeChat will effectively be shut down as of Sunday.
TikTok, the popular video app, got a longer grace period. It won’t be completely shut down until November 12 – after the general election – as negotiations continue with American companies interested in purchasing it. Oracle and Walmart are both in talks.
An official told Reuters that TikTok U.S. users would not see ‘a major difference’ in the app’s performance until Nov 12.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed the changes users would see in an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday morning.
‘WeChat is essentially a funds transfer and payment processing mechanism. For all practical purposes, it will be shut down in the U.S., but only in the U.S., as of midnight on Monday,’ he said.
‘So as to TikTok, the only real change as of Sunday night will be – won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps, or maintenance. So if that were to continue over a long period of time there might be a gradual degradation of services. But the basic TikTok will stay intact until November 12th,’ Ross noted.
But he said that deadline could be lifted if there is a purchasing deal – otherwise the app will be banned after the election.
‘If there’s not a deal by November 12th under the provisions of the old order, then TikTok also would be, for all practical purposes shut down,’ Ross said.
TikTok said it will challenge the ‘unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process’ and will ‘deprive the American people’ of its platform.
‘We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department,’ the company said in a statement after the decision was announced.
TikTok noted it has committed to ‘unprecedented levels’ of transparency, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and U.S. government oversight of US data security.