Due to concerns over national security, Trump’s administration announced on Friday that it will ban Chinese-owned messaging and payment app WeChat effective Sunday and block new downloads of video-sharing app TikTok the same day.
“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,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
The announcement on Friday comes ahead of an expected decision by President Trump about whether to approve a proposal from software maker Oracle to invest in a restructured TikTok, with operations based in the U.S.
Oracle was among the group of bidders, including Microsoft and Walmart, looking to buy TikTok’s U.S. operations.
“This type of ban would be bad for the industry,” Vanessa Pappas, interim head of TikTok, said in a Twitter post. “We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.”
Trump’s moves were telegraphed in an executive order earlier this summer banning transactions with WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings, and TikTok, owned by Bytedance. The order gave TikTok — one of the most popular social media apps in the world — 45 days to sell its American business to a U.S. company or face a nationwide prohibition.