TikTok downloads to be banned in US from Sunday

18 September 2020, 13:37 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 19:35

The US Commerce Department will roll out a ban of transactions using TikTok and WeChat starting on Sunday
The US Commerce Department will roll out a ban of transactions using TikTok and WeChat starting on Sunday. Picture: PA

TikTok downloads could be banned in the US within days amid a row over security concerns.

The US Commerce Department said will roll out a ban of transactions using TikTok and WeChat starting on Sunday.

But the ban could be lifted if the Chinese-owned social media giant's planned deal with US software company Oracle goes ahead.

The US government previously said that using and downloading the app to communicate will not be a banned transaction, although messaging on the app "could be directly or indirectly impaired" by the ban, and people who use it for messaging will not be subject to penalties.

The order was put into place on Friday to "combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data", according to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

"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 US laws and regulations," Mr Ross said in a prepared statement.

Some security experts have raised concerns that ByteDance Ltd, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, would maintain access to information on the 100 million TikTok users in the United States, creating a security risk.

A TikTok spokesperson said: "We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12.

"Our community of 100 million US users love TikTok because it's a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, and we're committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.

"In our proposal to the US Administration, we've already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps

are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security. Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which

would include all services and data serving US consumers. We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods."

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