The US Commerce Department plans to issue an order Friday that will bar people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok starting on September 20, three officials told Reuters.
The officials said the ban on new US downloads of TikTok could be still rescinded by President Donald Trump before it takes effect late Sunday as TikTok owner ByteDance races to clinch an agreement over the fate of its US operations, reports Reuters.
ByteDance has been in talks with Oracle Corp and others to create a new company, TikTok Global, that aims to address US concerns about the security of its users’ data. ByteDance still needs Trump’s approval to stave off a US ban.
The Commerce Department order will “deplatform” the two apps in the United States and bar Apple Inc’s app store, Alphabet Inc’s Google Play and others from offering the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States,” a senior Commerce official told Reuters.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made public.
The order will not ban US companies from doing businesses on WeChat outside the United States, which will be welcome news to US firms like Walmart and Starbucks that use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programs to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China.