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Government to block downloads of TikTok and WeChat from Sunday

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made the announcement Friday, citing national security concerns.
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The Trump Administration has announced that it is banning downloads of the social media apps TikTok and WeChat starting Sunday.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made the announcement Friday, following on from an Executive Order signed by President Trump on Aug. 6 that gave Chinese-owned TikTok 45 business days to sell its U.S. business to an American company.

The order will prohibit app stores from making the Chinese-owned apps from being downloaded as of Sunday. Furthermore, it will also prohibit internet hosting services from "enabling the functioning or optimization" of the app as of Sunday, with the same ban going into effect for TikTok beginning Nov. 12.

Video app TikTok has become the fastest downloaded app in the world over the course of 2020, topping 2 billion downloads globally in April.

Cnet reports that TikTok was targeted by the president over the summer amid concerns its China-based parent company, ByteDance, could be forced to give data about its U.S. users to the Chinese government, which ByteDance has said it would not do.

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In his announcement Friday, Ross claims that both WeChat and TikTok are "active participants in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP."

CNBC suggests that the move taken by Ross Friday could be part of an effort to rush TikTok's owners into selling its U.S. business before the Trump Administration's deadline.

Companies including Oracle and Microsoft have been linked with buying the app.

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