The US Department of Commerce has announced that it would implement the ban on WeChat and TikTok from Sunday. While the ban on WeChat will probably be enforced outright, the situation with TikTok is a bit more complicated and is likely dependent on whether the proposed deal with Oracle and Walmart goes ahead as planned. According to US media reports, President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision on the Oracle-TikTok deal either today or tomorrow.
In an official statement, US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, said: “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 regulation”.
The US Commerce Department’s announcement is raising speculations that the deal may not be finalized before the September 20 deadline. In that case, people in the US will be unable to download either of the two apps or carry out any kind of transaction either through the app or with the app’s publishers after that day. US companies would also be barred from distributing either TikTok or WeChat, meaning Apple and Google will have to remove them from the App Store and the Play Store, respectively.
The Commerce Department’s announcement also gives TikTok until November 12 to get its deal with Oracle and Walmart finalized, barring which, the government would block US companies from providing internet hosting services for TikTok. According to Ross, though, TikTok would still continue to function until November 12 for people who already have the app on their devices, with a full shutdown only coming after that date in the event the deal with Oracle falls through.