After much debate, the U.S. government will officially start banning TikTok and WeChat, citing national security and data privacy concerns. This Sunday, September 20th, you will no longer be able to download or update both apps on Google and Apple app stores. This week’s ban also makes WeChat completely unusable in the U.S. while a “broader” TikTok ban will follow on November 12.
All popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and including TikTok does collect user data, like locations and messages, to bettering their targeted ads system since forever. But experts and officials feared that the Chinese government could order Chinese-based companies to help them gather intelligence whether they like it or not.
TikTok argued that this decision was enacted “without due process,” claimed that it doesn’t store U.S. user data in China, would not give them to the government, and have gone through many steps to ensure its app will always be available for “100 million U.S. users.” It has sued President Trump over the executive order.
“In our proposal to the US Administration, we’ve already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security. Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers.”
The Chinese tech giant Tencent, the owner of WeChat, said in a statement that the U.S. ban is “unfortunate” and will try to communicate to anticipate long-term solutions.
But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, talking to Fox Business News, said that if certain steps are taken, the TikTok ban could be lifted, and access to the apps can be unlocked again. On Thursday, according to Bloomberg, Riot Games and Epic Games also got a letter from officials asking about the security of their customers’ private information. Aside from owning WeChat, Tencent also owns Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic. Are you going to miss the apps when the TikTok ban hits? Tell us what you think of this issue in the comments below.