On Friday, the US Department of Commerce announced that Chinese TikTok and WeChat will be banned from downloading in the United States from Sunday, due to risks related to “national security”, in light of the escalation of tension between the two countries.
However, Washington left the door open to TikTok, the short video platform that is enjoying overwhelming popularity among young people, before completely banning it from operating on its soil.
Immediately, the company that owned the Chinese application, TikTok, condemned on Friday the US ruling, stressing that it had provided all guarantees to respect the security of American users.
“The president leaves a deadline until November 12 to settle national security problems posed by TikTok, and the ban will be lifted at the end,” the US Commerce Department statement said.
However, a ministry official said that WeChat “will be closed in the United States” from midnight Monday.
The announcement comes as negotiations falter with Bitdance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok to sell its operations in the United States to an American group, while the Trump administration is running out of patience.
“The Chinese Communist Party has proven that it has the means and intent to use these two applications to threaten national security and the US foreign policy and economy,” the ministry said in a statement.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, the only real change will be from Sunday evening when we will not have access to app improvements, updates or maintenance,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Fox Business.
In turn, a spokeswoman for the company that owns TikTok told France Press, “We do not agree with the decision of the US Department of Commerce and we are sorry that downloading new applications is banned starting from Sunday and that the application of TikTok will be banned in the United States starting from November 12th.”
“In our proposal submitted to the US administration, we committed to unprecedented transparency standards and with additional responsibilities that go beyond what other applications do,” she said, referring to the possibility of third-party audits in addition to the ability to “verify the code’s security and the US government monitors the integrity of data in the United States.” ».
In implementing the US decision, users will have to deal with an app that has a poor service, which could make it less attractive.
Tik Tok enjoys overwhelming popularity among adolescents and young men, and the number of its users reaches about 100 million in the United States and a billion in the world.
Ross affirmed that “the basic Tik Tok will remain unchanged until November 12,” warning that “if there is no agreement before November 12th, TikTok will be closed.”
In doing so, the United States implements the threat that President Donald Trump has waved against the two Chinese apps, amid mounting tension between the two economic giants.
In early August, the US President gave TikTok one last chance, and signed a decree demanding that the ByteDance Group sell its activities in the United States by September 20, that is, Sunday, to a company bearing the “Made in the United States” brand.
Two days before the maturity, negotiations had not resulted in any agreement.
The two American giants Microsoft and Walmart made an offer to buy the US TikTok activities, but the parent company, ByteDance, rejected it on Sunday.
After that, signs of an agreement emerged that would make the Californian Oracle company a “reliable technology partner” for TikTok, but no detail was revealed in this regard.
Some media outlets reported that Oracle, which specializes in software and services for companies, will acquire a stake in TikTok that does not exceed 20%, according to CNBC, while the Chinese parent company, ByteDance, will retain the major stake in the platform.
Walmart, which was dealing mainly with Microsoft, was informed that it was still “interested in investing in TikTok” and that it was continuing to negotiate with BitDance management and other interested parties.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is responsible for reviewing the implications of foreign investment on US national security, is still studying the Oracle proposal, while Republican members of Congress warned against giving the green light to an agreement that would keep the platform under China’s control.
The issue is the latest chapter in the technological battle raging between the world’s two primary economic powers.
Some analysts point to the impossibility of reconciling the various elements of this file, with finding an agreement that dispels the two countries’ concerns in terms of security, algorithms and other basic technologies used by TikTok.
And the Ministry of Commerce said, “Although the risks of WeChat and Tik Tok are not similar, they are similar, as each collects huge amounts of data from users.”
The WeChat platform owned by the Chinese giant, “Tencent”, is commonly used in China, whether to exchange text messages, to pay, to reserve, and so on