The announcement comes after months of conflict between the Trump administration and Byte Dance, which owns and operates TikTok.
The Trump administration has tightened the plug only days after the software giant Oracle announced that it will replace Microsoft as the American buyer for the Chinese-based App TikTok.
- U.S. leaders have warned that Byte Dance could collect and share user data with the Chinese.
- Trump signed an executive order that gave TikTok a short period to hand over US operations.
- The updated deadline of November 12 gives Oracle and Byte Dance a few more weeks.
- TikTok has long denied allegations that it shared data with the Chinese government.
- Pappas called on other US-based social media organizations to help protect TikTok.
Beginning Sunday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the popular video-sharing app will be “closed for all practical purposes.” The White House will further block WeChat, a multifunctional messaging app used by many in the states to communicate with family in China.
The announcement comes after months of conflict between the Trump administration and Byte Dance, which owns and operates TikTok. U.S. leaders have warned that Byte Dance could collect and share user data with the Chinese government through the app.
As a result, in August, President Trump signed an executive order that gave TikTok a short period to hand over US operations to an American company.
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Although Microsoft took an initial interest, Beijing last week turned down a Seattle-based company offer. Another Silicon Fence software company, Oracle, stepped into the breach.
However, the deal between Oracle and Byte Dance was not satisfactory to Trump because it only gave the U.S. company a minority stake in the Chinese initiative. Now, with Trump’s executive order approaching the September 20 deadline, the White House does not want to extend it.
What is a shutdown?
Sunday’s ban will affect both TikTok and Wechat. It restricts any financial transactions or other transactions through WeChat and prohibits companies from hosting or distributing content on the platform.
Additionally, no users in the United States will be allowed to download the latest TikTok or Wechat updates after Sunday. Although TikTok already has over 100 million users in the United States, they will not be able to update the app and new users will not be able to register.
There is still some time. The updated deadline of November 12 gives Oracle and Byte Dance a few more weeks. But if they fail to close the deal to hand over the majority of the operating shares to Oracle by that date, the White House will intensify its restrictions.
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TikTok’s answer to Trump Administration
TikTok has long denied allegations that it shared data with the Chinese government. Also, to defuse tensions, it has formed a US leadership team, which includes former Disney executive Kevin Meyer, TikTok CEO and Vanessa Pappas, general manager of the company.
On Friday, Pappas called on other US-based social media organizations to help protect TikTok from federal intervention. “We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry,” Pappas tweeted. “We call on Facebook and Instagram to join our challenge publicly and support our case. It is time to set aside our competition and focus on key principles such as freedom of expression and the proper process of law.”
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has accused the Trump administration of acting unconstitutionally.
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“This order, issued today, violates the First Amendment rights of the people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions in TikTok and Wechat,” the ACLU tweeted.
“By blocking software updates, this order affects the privacy and security of millions of existing TikTok and WeChat users in the United States, which will fix vulnerabilities and make applications more secure.”
Why is TikTok prohibited in the United States?
The President ordered the app to be banned in the USA and referred to concerns about national security. Security officials in the United States fear that the Chinese government may be handed over information collected by TikTok’s owner.
Byte Dance, the owner of Tik Tok, denied allegations that they were controlled by the Chinese Communist Party or shared their data.