Commerce Makes TikTok, WeChat App Bans Official

(Image credit: TikTok)

TikTok and WeChat will have to be out of app stores by Sept. 20, according to the Commerce Department.

Commerce is implementing President Trump's executive order banning the Chinese-backed social media aps from the U.S. Commerce said that both social media aps collect "vast swaths" of data and search histories and that both are
"active participant[s] in China’s civil-military fusion and subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the [Chinese Communist Party]."

Related: Imagining a U.S. Based TikTok
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “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 U.S. laws and regulations.”

Specifically banned as of Monday (Sept. 20):

1. "Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.;

2. "Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S."

In addition, as of Sept. 20 for WeChat and Nov. 12 for TikTok, also prohibited are:

1. "Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;

2. "Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;

3. "Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.; and

4. "Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.