US takes concrete action to ban TikTok and WeChat

The TikTok and WeChat apps will no longer be findable on smartphones in the United States from September 20, according to announcements from the US Department of Commerce.

The end of the countdown launched by Donald Trump on August 6 is near. The US Secretary of State for Commerce announced in a statement released Friday, September 18, that it would take measures to ensure that the applications TikTok (a popular social network, owned by the Chinese giant ByteDance) and WeChat (a very popular messaging system, especially in Asia, and owned by Chinese giant Tencent) will no longer be available in the United States as of Sunday, September 20.

These first measures order that from September 20 the two applications can no longer be “Distributed or maintained” through a “Mobile application store in the United States”. The announcement thus paves the way for neither TikTok nor WeChat to be no longer accessible to Americans on the iOS App Store (which distributes applications for iPhone) or the Google Play Store (which distributes applications for Android smartphones. ). Concretely, this means that updates to TikTok and WeChat will no longer be provided for people who have already installed them; and potential new users will no longer be able to find them to download them to their Apple or Android smartphone.

Negotiations still ongoing for TikTok

The US government is also preparing for more limitations. From September 20, WeChat will no longer be able to serve as a payment interface in the United States (transactions are possible in the application). But all American operators of the Internet network (Internet service provider, data hosts, developers, etc.) will also be prohibited from providing the infrastructure necessary for the operation of the application.

These same bans will also apply to the social network TikTok, which should therefore cease to operate in the United States, but from November 12 only, specifies the US Department of Commerce. A difference in date which is explained by the discussions currently underway so that an American company can buy ByteDance the activities of TikTok in the United States – a possibility left open by Washington. These negotiations are still being conducted between the Chinese ByteDance and the Californian company Oracle, specialist in the cloud. and which we learned on Monday that the takeover offer of TikTok in the United States had been preferred to that of Microsoft.

Read also What is Oracle, the IT giant eyeing the social network TikTok?

Such a takeover, the contours of which are still unclear, must also be approved by the president himself, while the White House is actively weighing in these discussions. According to New York Times, back and forth on the precise structure of the agreement still took place Thursday, September 17.

In this context, the announcements of the American government sound like a new warning, and an indication on the calendar surrounding the fate of TikTok in the United States: the concrete implementation of the wishes of Donald Trump, who spoke on August 6 of a outright ban, will take place from the deadline, which was set for September 20. And this even if the negotiations between TikTok and Oracle will continue.

A threat to “national security”

In the meantime, the United States reiterates the primary reasons why TikTok and WeChat are the target of the Trump administration, in the midst of a global trade war with China. “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated that it has the means and the intention to use these applications to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States”, says the US ministry in its press release – without citing once a potential takeover of TikTok by Oracle.

“The president is leaving until November 12 to resolve the national security concerns posed by TikTok. The bans could be lifted if necessary ”, however specifies the department of commerce.

TikTok meant to CNN his “Disagreement with the decision of the US Secretary of State for Commerce”, ensuring to have already committed to “Levels of transparency much higher than what other applications agree to do”, citing the possibility of audits carried out by third parties, “Code security verification and US government oversight of data security in the United States”. TikTok points out that it will continue to “Contest” Donald Tump’s ultimatum, which according to her was not done in the rules, and which “Threatens to deprive Americans and small businesses across the country of an important platform to make their voices heard and keep them alive.”

Dan Ives, financial analyst at investment bank Wedbush Securities, called the news“Shock announcement”, in a note written on Friday. According to him, “The ultimatum” delivered by the Commerce Department seeks to put pressure on ByteDance, as well as on Beijing. The “Hot spots” Of the discussion are majority control of the structure by American companies, like Oracle and Walmart, as well as access to the algorithm used to rank content on TikTok, says Ives.

“We still believe that a deal can be found and this TikTok shutdown avoided, although the next forty-eight hours will be a critical time for all parties around the table, writes the analyst. The wider concern is that in the absence of an agreement the decision to ban the social network will be the equivalent of Fort Sumter in the technological cold war between the United States and China, with retaliation to the horizon. “ The reference is serious because the Battle of Fort Sumter (1861) is generally considered to be the start of the American Civil War, the American Civil War (1861-1865).

TikTok Gets Instagram Support

The news drew support for TikTok from Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, one of the top competing apps. “A ban on TikTok in the United States would be damaging for Instagram, Facebook, and more generally for the Internet”, he said on Twitter on Friday.

“If you’re skeptical, keep in mind that most of Instagram’s users are not in the US, as are most of our growth potential. The long-term costs of aggressive demands from moody states capable of shutting us down in the next decade outweigh the benefit of seeing a competitor held back. “

A message of course from Vanessa Pappas, head of TikTok in the United States, who grabbed the ball on the jump by calling on Facebook and Instagram to publicly join his legal action against Donald Trump’s decision: “Now is the time to put our competition aside and focus on the core principles of freedom of speech and law enforcement. “

Read also TikTok banned in the United States? The answers to your questions


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