TikTok and WeChat will no longer be able to download in the U.S. starting Sunday (Sept. 20), the Department of Commerce has announced. The news arrives a month after President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with TikTok, claiming that the app posed a threat to national security.
However, for those who already have TikTok downloaded, the app will remain functional for at least a few more weeks. The Department of Commerce said that services the app relies on, such as internet hosting and transit services, will not be blocked until Nov. 12. This will give the short-form video company and the U.S. government more time to potentially reach an agreement. WeChat, however, will be completely banned as of Sunday.
“The real shut down would come after Nov. 12 in the event that there is not another transaction,” Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview on the Fox Business Network. “So, it’s very different how the two are being handled and that reflects the quantitative and the qualitative and differences between the two apps.”
Negotiations between TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, and U.S. technology giant Oracle have already been in full swing. On Thursday (Sept. 17), the companies reached a deal that would turn TikTok into a global company with headquarters based in the United States, giving Oracle control over the platform’s U.S. operations.
This proposed deal just stops short of Trump’s original demands, which were that TikTok be sold to an American company. However, the agreement will still need to be approved by Trump and Chinese authorities to go through.
TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity among younger users this year, especially with the appeal of viral challenges amidst stay-at-home orders. With over 100 million monthly U.S. users, some politicians have expressed concern about the Chinese government potentially accessing Americans’ user data. WeChat, a messaging app with several other functions, has over a billion users worldwide.