US bans WeChat, TikTok citing national security


Other measures prohibited as of September 20 include distribution, maintenance and updates of WeChat or TikTok through app stores in the U.S.

Similar technical limitations for TikTok don't go into effect until November 12, shortly after the US election.

TikTok has approximately 100 million users in the United States, but claim they don't store U.S. user data in China or give users' data to the Beijing government.

ByteDance and WeChat-owner Tencent Holdings have repeatedly denied that USA data collection is used for spying.

The announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the USA by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality, it said.

TikTok, extremely popular among teens, allows users to produce and share 15 or 60-second videos. The U.S. government has pointed out that as operated by companies in China, they are subject to "mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP". On that date, if no deal that the USA approves of is reached, TikTok will be banned from use in the United States.

Under President Trump's executive orders, new laws meant companies in the USA could no longer work with TikTok and WeChat.

TikTok, a China-based short-form video application, has more than 100 million users in the United States.

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"Following the initial executive order on August 6 we have engaged in extensive discussions with the USA government, and have put forward a comprehensive proposal to address its concerns", Tencent said in a statement.

These rules will be applied to TikTok on November 12 as well if owner ByteDance hasn't reach an agreement to sell the USA operations to an American company.

In an executive order from August, US Donald Trump gave parent company ByteDance until September 20 to sell TikTok's US operations or face a nationwide ban. BUT (and it's a big one), existing users will continue to be able to use the apps installed on their phones. President Donald Trump could still be seen by some as defending USA interests by threatening to ban a Chinese app, and some may see him as avoiding a decision or arranging a deal for a political ally, in Oracle Chair Larry Ellison.

According to analytics firms Apptopia, in early August, WeChat is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China, with an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States.

The Commerce Department said Trump has given TikTok until November 12 to address the concerns.

TikTok says it does not store U.S. user data in China and that it would not give user data to the government.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the notice says, "has now defined the prohibitions" and confirmed that U.S. users of WeChat can't be penalized for personal use of the app.

WeChat built a huge following in part because China blocks its citizens from using Western apps such as Facebook or YouTube, said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.