The United States government has officially made good on threats to ban the Chinese-owned social media applications, TikTok and WeChat.
The ban will happen in two phases with the first beginning September 20th. Downloads of the apps will be eliminated from all app stores. Just two months later, both apps will be banned from use entirely in the United States.
The unprecedented action stems from security concerns that the Chinese parent company of the apps, ByteDance Ltd., is harvesting the personal data from it's more than 100 million users.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross issued the following statement, “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.”
The move comes as an apparent deal had been struck between ByteDance Ltd. and tech titan, Oracle. However, details of the agreement were murky at best and when both sales failed to confirm the deal was a sale or acquisition proper, the US government grew skeptical. Outbidding Microsoft and Walmart, Oracle would only confirm that they were selected as TikTok's "trusted technology partner," which raises concerns that the company would still retain operational say-so and access to the personal data linked to the app.