The Trump Administration Will Ban TikTok This Weekend

Published on September 18, 2020

If you’ve slept on downloading TikTok, one of the most popular video-based social media apps in recent months, you’d better download it now before your chance is up. The U.S. Commerce Department confirmed on Friday that it would ban downloads of both TikTok and WeChat as part of an ongoing pressure to control which networking apps are popular in the United States. TikTok and WeChat, which are both currently owned by Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent Holdings, respectively, pose a national security threat over data collection and potential misuse according to the executive order signed by President Trump last month.

Downloads of both apps will be banned on Sunday, though users with the apps downloaded onto their mobile devices by that deadline will still be able to access and use the apps. Oracle is set to acquire TikTok in some facet, though there are reports that President Trump is not satisfied with the conditions of the deal. Walmart is also in talks to acquire a significant portion of the company, allowing two U.S.-based companies to hold controlling stake in the app’s operations. ByteDance, however, will be keeping the boosting algorithm that made TikTok so popular in the first place.

Should the TikTok acquisition be approved, the company plans on filing an Initial Public Offering on the U.S. Stock Market, though the U.S. Treasury is currently working with ByteDance and Oracle to specify any changes that must be made for the negotiation to meet requirements. President Trump is reportedly in talks with his cabinet on whether he will approve the deal.

For now users can still download and use TikTok, but after Sunday at midnight the app will no longer be available to download or update on the App Store. The app will be banned completely from operating in the United States on November 12th unless ByteDance, Oracle, and Walmart reach an agreement with the United States government between now and then. Users might notice that the app operates more slowly over time without the ability to update, but it will still have functionality for the foreseeable future.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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