Trump takes action to ban WeChat and TikTok


The social media app, TikTok, and the communication app, WeChat on an iPhone homescreen.

On Friday, September 18, the Trump administration stated that they would be banning the United States from using the social media app TikTok and the communication app WeChat demanding that these apps be taken off all Google and Apple app storefronts. According to the Washington Post, the ban on WeChat and Tik Tok was set to start on Sunday, September 20, and would not allow new users to download the app or current users to update the app. In addition, WeChat users will not be able to wire money in and out of the U.S. However, further restrictions on TIkTok usage were set to take place on November 12.

Trump and his administration have been planning a ban on TikTok since August 6. This is because the Trump administration view TikTok and WeChat as threats to national security as they believe that China may use these apps to take user data. They also believe that China may use that data to “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the US”, according to the US Commerce Department in Friday’s statement.

However, this all changed on Saturday, September 19.
According to the New York Times, on Saturday, President Donald Trump gave his stamp of approval on a business deal between ByteDance, the China based company that owns TikTok, Walmart, and Oracle.

The NYT article states, “The deal, which must still gain formal U.S. approval, would create a new U.S.-based company, TikTok Global, in which Oracle, an American software maker, and Walmart would own 20 percent, placing more equity in the service into the hands of American companies and investors.”

The ownership of the new entity, TikTok Global, would be made up of 53% American investors, including the 20% stake between Walmant and Oracle and the current American investments in ByteDance. Due to this business deal, the United States Commerce Department agreed to postpone their plan to remove TikTok from app stores on Sunday night for one week.

According to another New York Times article, on September 20, Judge Laura Beeler of the United States District Court for the Northern District Of California ruled that WeChat restrictions be delayed. Judge Beeler stated that she came to this decision because of concerns that the plaintiffs had that the restrictions violated First Amendment rights and concerns that removing WeChat would shut down the main form of communication for the Chinese community. According to a Justice Department Spokeswoman, in response to this ruling, the United States government could appeal to reverse the decision.

While nothing is permanent and there are still court rulings and decisions to be made as to whether TikTok and WeChat will be definitively banned or not, as of right now, both have remained available to their users.