Trump to Block TikTok and WeChat Downloads Starting Sunday

The Trump administration is set to ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat from app stores nationwide beginning this Sunday night, according to Reuters. The federal government blames concerns over a national security threat as the reason for blocking the Chinese-owned social media platforms. The goal is to degrade the usability of the apps.

“The expectation is that people will find alternative ways to do these actions,” a senior federal official said. “We expect the market to act, and there will be more secure apps that will fill in these gaps that Americans can trust and that the United States government won’t have to take similar actions against.”

The bans will only impact new downloads and updates. The aim is to give TikTok, in particular, breathing room for its parent company, ByteDance, to work out an agreement for its U.S. operations. Existing TikTok users will not see much of a change until Nov. 12 when a ban on some technical transactions will be implemented. However, the order does not bar data storage on either app.

Trump’s ban aims to force Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, so there will be no new users, and to prevent TikTok from updating its app for existing users, according to Vox. TikTok has 100 million users nationwide and WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the U.S. as of early August.