The United States has ordered a ban on downloads of popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and use of the messaging and payment platform WeChat, saying they threaten national security.
The move, to be implemented Sunday night, comes amid rising US-China tensions and efforts by the Trump administration to engineer a sale of TikTok to American investors.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.”
The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.
But while WeChat will effectively be shut down in the US from Sunday night, existing TikTok users will be able to continue using the app until November 12 when it would also face a full ban on its US operations.
TikTok’s brand of brief, quirky phone videos has become hugely popular, especially among young people, with 100 million users in the US alone and its use has further soared among teens stuck at home through the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Friday night, Ross told Fox news, TikTok users will not have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps, or maintenance.