The US Department of Commerce said the nation will start obstructing the dispersion of TikTok and WeChat applications on September 20, on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.
According to NBCNews, the US started targeting TikTok for a while and threatened to ban the app if the company behind it ByteDance did not sell TikTok US operations to an American company if it wanted to continue operating.
Earlier this week, Oracle overtook Microsoft as the most likely candidate to buy TikTok’s US operations. But the deal’s progress hasn’t been fast enough, and the deadline for completion is September 20. As a result, the app will be banned on platforms that distributed the app on that same day.
The Chinese government is supposed to want TikTok to close in the US rather than letting ByteDance sell it, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Interestingly, the ban also targets WeChat – the chat app owned by Tencent (China) which also owns stakes in game developers like Epic Games.
While some have doubted the TikTok claims are being used to spy on Americans, some have defended the government’s strong stance. James Lewis, a network expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said: “This is the most intense espionage campaign against America since the Reagan administration. We are engaged in a powerful espionage war with China.
In addition, US President Donald Trump has also issued an executive order allowing ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, to divest from the social media platform in the US on November 21. If the deal with Oracle is passed after that, TikTok could return to the app store.