United States set to ban TikTok and WeChat downloads from Sunday

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"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 USA laws and regulations".

But free speech watchdogs and advocates denounced such reasoning condemned the move.

US companies such as Walmart and Starbucks that rely on WeChat to do business outside the United States can continue to do so. Users, however, might be blocked from getting important app software updates that fix bugs and security vulnerabilities. Read this: https://t.co/eFF1X8CVzK...

About 19 million people in the USA use the multi-functional app WeChat - owned by Chinese company Tencent - as a social media platform and to make payments and do business.

Brands that strike sponsorship deals with major TikTok stars are also underwhelmed by the ongoing saga, choosing to continue their work on the app until a ban appears, said Alessandro Bogliari, chief executive of The Influencer Marketing Factory, an agency that works with brands and social media influencers.

TikTok's brand of brief, quirky phone videos has become hugely popular, especially among young people, with 100 million users in the United States alone. The official added that TikTok's U.S. users would not see "a major difference" in the app's performance until November 12.

Get our best delivered to your inbox. Anyone who already has the app downloaded will be permitted to use it for now.

Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce were listed as defendants in the 39-page indictment.

"TikTok is the only app where people have expressed interests in my art or other content and thinking of it getting banned makes me feel extremely hopeless lol", one user tweeted.

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TikTok says it does not store U.S. user data in China and that it would not give user data to the Chinese government. TikTok likewise stated the ban breaks its First Amendment complimentary- speech rights.

Starting Monday, both apps will be removed from app stores and users will not be able to download the apps to their phones.

Commerce said in a news release that USA mobile platforms will be prohibited from distributing the apps, meaning new downloads will be blocked.

Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think tank funded by tech companies and some government agencies, offered a similar assessment.

The U.S. order affects users of WeChat immediately.

The orders were aimed at forcing TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to sell off TikTok's United States operation entirely.

Mr Trump previously claimed TikTok could be used in disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and that he held concerns about how WeChat collected people's personal data.

But Cheng said it's not as if the government "can go and strip it away" after the apps have been downloaded on to tens of millions of devices. "To truly address privacy concerns raised by social media platforms, Congress should enact comprehensive surveillance reform and strong consumer data privacy legislation".

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