TikTok is set to be removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as the US Commerce Department has issued a new order to block people in US from downloading the popular video-sharing app as of Sunday, September 20th.
The full order was published by the Department of Commerce on the Friday morning, stating:
“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.
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.”
In last few weeks, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has been engaged in talks with US companies like Microsoft and Oracle to create a new company. And earlier this month, President Trump also sparked negotiations after calling for US TikTok operations to be shut down unless it sold to a US-based company by September 15th. After Microsoft dropped the talks with TikTok, Oracle & Walmart are the leading candidates to hold the stake in the new TikTok company.
WeChat will be banned along with TikTok
Officials told Reuters that this new ban issued by the US Department of Commerce, also covers Chinese social network WeChat, and it orders both Apple and Google to remove each service from the app stores by Sunday, September 20, so no new users in the country can no longer download them. Also, US-based companies would not be barred from conducting business with Chinese-owned apps, like Walmart and Starbucks allowing their users to make transactions through WeChat.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Reuters Friday:
“Any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd, shall be prohibited to the extent permitted under applicable law.”
Well It’s currently unclear how Apple or Google will respond to this. But the Department of Commerce also declared that after November 12, it will be ‘prohibited’ for anyone to provide web hosting services to support the running of TikTok app, suggesting it may no longer work for users in the US after November 12.
However using a VPN to make your connection appear like it is originating from another country may allow you to access TikTok – but we’ll have to wait until November 12 to see.