The U.S. Commerce Department changed its mind and delayed the TikTok ban by one week. The app, which has about half a billion users worldwide, allows users to make and share short videos. The US government also banned the WeChat App beginning on Sunday. Both apps are based in China.
The government cited the data collected by the apps as the reason for the ban. Among the data collected:
- network activity
- location data
- browsing history
- search history
Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “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.”
However just a day after the announcement, the ban was delayed. “In light of recent positive developments, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, at the direction of President Trump, will delay the prohibition of identified transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13942, related to the TikTok mobile application that would have been effective on Sunday, September 20, 2020, until September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.”
The positive development is believed to be an offer from U.S. tech giant Oracle to purchase the company.
Mandatory Cooperation With Chinese Government
While the data collected from these apps isn’t any different from information collected by Facebook or Google, there is one key difference according to Secretary Ross, “Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”
When the ban goes into effect, the apps will disappear from the app store. Sending money or processing payments using the apps will now be illegal. The apps won’t vanish from your phone but they won’t be supported and without updates apps don’t work for long.
Some users have turned their TikTok popularity into million-dollar careers. Forbes Magazine spotlighted seven users at the beginning of August who each earned more than a million dollars each in the past year thanks to TikTok fame.
The app’s creators issued a statement back in August about the ban, “For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”