The Trump administration announced that starting Sunday, September 20, it will restrict access to the popular short-form video app TikTok. But don’t fear TikTok’ ers, if you have the app already installed, this doesn’t pertain to you. But if you don’t, go head over to the app store and download it now if you want it.
Starting at midnight between Sunday and Monday, the app and WeChat will vanish from US app stores, including those operated by Apple and Google, CNN reports. This basically means US users who want to install the app anew, or those who are searching for security patches or updates, won’t be able to receive them due to the Commerce Department’s restrictions, which limits how the app can be distributed.
The bold move was a disappointment to TikTok executives who say they disagreed with the administration’s decision.
“Our community of 100 million US users loves TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” the company said,” 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.”
Trump and his administration have insisted for months now that TikTok poses a national security threat because it’s owned by Chinese Parent company ByteDance. The administration also believes that the app owners could provide US data to the Chinese government, which would compromise the safety and privacy of its US users.
Last month, Trump executed two executive orders that aimed at banning the app unless ByteDance sold it to the US. But TikTok has assured that US users’ information is properly stored outside of China, and it wouldn’t give the information to the Chinese government even if they were asked to.
Furthermore, there has been no evidence that proves TikTok has been compromised by the Chinese government and admits that the danger, while possible, is largely hypothetical.
Several security experts have criticized the Commerce Department’s limitations because they actually stop security updates from being pushed to WeChat and TikTok users. However, an official of the department has denounced the criticism as “simplistic.”
“The argument that we’re eroding security because we’re not allowing an untrusted entity to push security updates to apps that are already untrusted, on its face falls flat,” the official said.
The announcement on TikTok restrictions follow the partnership between the app and Oracle, which was meant to address the Trump administration’s security concerns. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
On a call this morning over the restrictions, the Commerce Department declined to speak on what would happen if such a deal were finalized prior to the Sunday deadline.
Hopefully, the companies can finalize negotiations on the deal by November 12, or else further restriction may be applied to TikTok that could degrade its functionality, Department officials stated.
The restrictions would apply to internet infrastructure companies in a way that could negatively impact the transfer of the app’s content, potentially decreasing its speed or causing outages on the service.