Soon, You Won't Be Able to Download TikTok

Kimberly Truong
·2 mins read

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The Trump administration announced it will ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores starting Sunday, Sep. 20. The news comes a little over a month after Donald Trump issued an executive order claiming TikTok and WeChat collect data from American users that could be accessed by the Chinese government.

Citing national security and data privacy concerns, the U.S. Department of Commerce said there will be a total ban on the use of WeChat, and a total ban on the use of TikTok will follow on Nov. 12.

On Aug. 6, Trump released an executive order on TikTok, claiming the Chinese-owned app may "allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

After the news broke, the American Civil Liberties Union responded on Twitter, writing, "Selectively banning entire platforms like TikTok and WeChat violates the First Amendment and does little to protect our personal data from abuse."

After Trump first threatened to ban TikTok in early August, the company released a statement saying, in part, "we're not planning on going anywhere."

"TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas, and connect with people across different backgrounds, and we are so proud of all the various communities that call TikTok home," said U.S. general manager Vanessa Pappas. "When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it's the right thing to do. We appreciate the support, we're here for the long run, continue to share your voice here, and let's stand for TikTok."

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The Associated Press reports that like most social networks, TikTok collects user data and moderates users’ posts and pulls users’ locations and messages and tracks what they watch to figure out how best to target ads to them. TikTok has said it does not store U.S. user data in China and would not give user data to the government, but AP reports that experts say the Chinese government can get any information it wants from companies there.