Downloading TikTok to be banned in the US by executive order


Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Daniel Wilcox, co-Editor-in-Chief

An executive order made by US President Donald Trump is set to result in the removal of the popular video sharing app TikTok from US app stores on Sunday, according to a Financial Times article. This comes at the end of many months of speculation that the Trump administration has been working to completely ban the TikTok app due to perceived concerns of the role of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, and the ability to access American’s private information. ByteDance, the Chinese owners of TikTok have frequently denied that US private data is being made accessible to any other entities, explaining that the company “stores all its data in servers in the US,” according to Business Insider.

This executive order follows the Indian government ban on TikTok and other apps that were made by Chinese companies. BBC News reported that the Indian government had banned the apps because according to them they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” India was at that point the biggest foreign market for TikTok, totalling around 120 million users, according to the BBC.

Discussing how the removal of the TikTok app will affect Americans, the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross told Fox Business that users would be able to continue using the app until November 12, with a “gradual degradation of service,” after which point the app would be unusable. However, with talks between the American computer technology company Oracle, and ByteDance continuing, there is hope that the app could remain active if the Trump administration is happy with the terms of the deal, according to the Financial Times. 

With mainly young people using the app, some experts have questioned why TikTok has been singled out by the Trump administration. WeChat, the mobile messaging app that currently has around 1.2 billion users around the world, according to Statista, is also going to be banned for download on Sunday.

(09/21/20) UPDATE : According to The Verge, the banning of TikTok downloads has been delayed by a week, due to President Trump giving his “blessing” to a proposed deal between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart. Meanwhile, the banning of WeChat has been halted because of a preliminary injunction being issued in California.