*UPDATE* – The roller coaster continues. Late Saturday, President Trump told reporters he approved of a deal which would see TikTok’s US operations taken over by Oracle and Walmart.
“I have given the deal my blessing,” said Trump as he left Washington for a North Carolina rally. “I approve the deal in concept.”
Following the news, the US Department of Commerce said it is delaying the upcoming removal of TikTok from American app stores in “light of recent developments.”
Now, the department says TikTok will remain available on US iOS and Android stores until September 27th, unless a deal is finalized and approved.
It is official. TikTok will be formally banned from Android and iOS within the United States starting Sunday, September 20, 2020.
This means that people within the US will be unable to download the app from trusted app stores.
Those who have the app already downloaded can continue to use the app, however, they will be unable to download any updates released in the future.
Following this, an effective ban of the platform will go into effect starting November 12, at which time the app will be completely unreachable in the US.
The announcement from the US Department of Commerce also stated that any workarounds to access TikTok will also be banned.
The announcement came as somewhat of a shock, as TikTok had made visible efforts to sell its US operations which would satisfy the conditions issued by the Department of Commerce.
As the department said in the announcement of the effective ban:
“The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted.”
According to President Trump, who signed the ban into effect via Executive Order on August 6, 2020, TikTok and WeChat – owned by the same company – pose a threat to national security.
The Department of Commerce elaborated on this:
“Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality…
Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories…
This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”
TikTok spokesperson responded to the news in a statement which called the move “unprecedented”:
“In our proposal to the U.S. Administration, we’ve already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security.”
It should be noted that the United States is not the only country to express concerns about TikTok or even to ban it from their country. India banned the app starting in July of this year, while others including Japan have openly considered banning the service.