The Trump administration has officially put a ban on Chinese-owned apps WeChat and TikTok in the United States. Effective this Sunday, September 20th, WeChat and TikTok will no longer be available for download in app stores. The Trump administration cites national security concerns for the ban on these widely popular apps. The president’s executive order made on August 6th argues that TikTok and WeChat apps consistently mine data from American users (something also done by US-owned social media apps), which may pose a threat to privacy and raises a wealth of other concerns. Violators of the order are threatened with fines up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison.
Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s interim CEO and former general manager in the US, argues:
We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.
The TikTok ban may be lifted if terms are met before November 12th. According to reports, ByteDance is working with Oracle to secure such a deal after original negotiations with Microsoft failed.
Meanwhile, people everywhere are speaking out on the ban and discussing the impact on freedom of speech.
Sources: The New York Times, The Verge