Trump Administration to Ban Downloads of TikTok and Block Access to WeChat on Sunday

Steve Kovach, reporting for CNBC:

The Commerce Department announced it will ban U.S. business transactions with China-owned social apps WeChat and TikTok on Sunday.

The announcement sets up two different time frames for WeChat and TikTok, with a full ban on WeChat going into effect Sunday along with a ban on updates and maintenance to the TikTok app. TikTok has a Nov. 12 deadline before companies are banned from providing cloud and internet services for the app, which could give Oracle more time to hammer out its offer for TikTok to satisfy President Trump.

Be careful of headlines along the lines of “U.S. bans TikTok” — right now it’s just new downloads that will be banned, not use of the app if already downloaded. Predictably, TikTok has shot to the top of the download charts.

WeChat is in a different boat — it’s set to be fully banned. The politics of this distinction couldn’t be more clear. Peter Kafka:

WeChat: Enormously popular with Chinese-Americans. Owned by Chinese company. Will be crippled in US Sunday night.

TikTok: Enormously popular with Americans including some Trump voters. Owned by Chinese company, trying to do deal w/ Trump supporters. Will be OK through election.

Larry Ellison is a big Trump supporter, just in case you weren’t aware of how flamboyantly transparent the cronyism is with the Oracle-TikTok deal.

Friday, 18 September 2020