We are getting to the end of the road for the social apps TikTok and WeChat, as neither app will be available to download by the end of the weekend. This is the result of a previous decision made by the Trump administration, which had set an expiration date in the United States for the two apps with executive orders. Per the Commerce Department, that apps will not be allowed to be distributed or maintained on the app stores for Apple and Google, though users can still download the apps now and continue to use them.
"The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won't have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Fox Business.
"Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," Ross also said, detailing the reasons behind the decision.
"At the President's direction, we have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations."
Additional restrictions are yet to come. The axe is falling on WeChat a bit harder at this time, as starting on Sunday, it will be illegal to host or transfer internet traffic associated with the app. These same restrictions will fall on TikTok on Nov. 12. Additionally, other restrictions could be introduced in the coming weeks, which may even include other apps if they function as workarounds for TikTok and WeChat.
One slice of good news here is that TikTok employees working in the United States won't be as adversely affected. Workers can still earn salaries and benefits from the company without violating the restrictions. The Trump administration has also stated that WeChat users "will not be targeted or subject to penalties."
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. In August, Donald Trump announced his plans to ban TikTok in the United States this month, citing national security concerns. The ban would not have taken effect if an American-based company were to acquire the app, and Microsoft was reportedly in talks to do so. Days ago, the potential deal fell through, as ByteDance was not willing to give Microsoft the app's algorithm and other artificial intelligence technology. It was also reported that the company won't be giving the app's source code to any American buyers.
In any case, given the immense popularity of TikTok, the decision to take it off the app stores is going to disappoint a lot of people. Anyone interested in checking it out better do so now while it's still available to download. It's still possible some kind of a deal could be reached soon to keep TikTok around in the United States, but given the failed negotiations with Microsoft, those odds now seem much less likely. This news comes to us from CNN.