Friday 18 September 2020 1:51 pm

Tiktok and Wechat US downloads to be banned from Sunday

Downloads of popular video app Tiktok and Chinese messaging app Wechat will be banned in the US from Sunday, White House officials have said.

However the ban on Tiktok could still be reversed if its owner Bytedance is able to get a deal to offload its ownership over the US service approved by US President Donald Trump.

Bytedance has been in talks with software firm Oracle to give the company a minority stake and management of its US data by creating a new entity called Tiktok Global, in a bid to assuage national security concerns over its Chinese origins.

Read more: Trump wavers on Tiktok deal as Bytedance seeks Chinese approval

US Commerce Department officials said they will not bar additional technical transactions for Tiktok until 12 November, allowing Bytedance additional time to secure a deal even after the ban takes effect.

The Commerce Department order will “deplatform” the two apps, which are used by more than 100m people in the United States — meaning people that already have the apps can still use them but will not receive any new updates, and new downloads will be banned.

Apple’s App Store, Alphabet’s Google Play and others will be prohibited from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States,” a senior Commerce official told Reuters.

Read more: Crystal ball: Here’s what the Oracle deal could mean for Tiktok

However those companies will still be allowed to offer the apps for download outside the US.

US Commerce Department secretary Wilbur Ross said in a written statement: “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 US laws and regulations.”

Bytedance, Tiktok and Wechat have yet to respond to the order.

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