The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Friday (Sept. 18) that the prohibitions on transactions are based on the president’s executive order issued last month over national security concerns.
In the announcement, the agency claimed that the Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the U.S. The ban aims to protect U.S. users by eliminating access to these apps and reducing their functionality, the Commerce Department said.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Under the terms of the U.S. ban effective Sept. 20, TikTok and WeChat can no longer distribute or update their apps in the U.S., and the WeChat app cannot be used to transfer money or process payments or other functions. A similar total ban on TikTok's U.S. operations will begin on Nov. 12.
On Aug. 6, Trump signed the executive order on the two Chinese apps, alleging that they captured information from U.S. users, leaving the data vulnerable to the Communist party for nefarious purposes.
At the direction of the president, the Commerce Department was required to identify transactions within 45 days to protect national security and the private data of millions of Americans. Friday’s announced prohibitions fulfill the president’s direction and mitigate national security risks, the department added.
Details of the ban come ahead of an expected statement on Friday by Trump on whether the government will approve a deal for Oracle Corp., in which the Redwood City, Calif.-based software company would become a “trusted technology partner” for TikTok in the U.S.
Ross told Fox Business on Thursday that the bans are being implemented differently. He said that while the TikTok app will still function if it’s already installed on a device, users will be unable to upgrade it. He did not address whether the app will still be available in app stores.
(This article has been updated.)