U.S. to start blocking TikTok and WeChat downloads Sunday


The U.S. will begin blocking the distribution of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat on Sunday, the Department of Commerce said Friday.

Commerce said in a news release that U.S. mobile platforms will be prohibited from distributing the apps, meaning new downloads will be blocked.

But TikTok will not disappear entirely on Sunday. The app will still work for at least a few more weeks. Commerce said that crucial services that TikTok relies on, such as internet hosting and transit services, will not be prohibited until Nov. 12 — pushing the deadline to after the election.

WeChat, however, faces a full ban on Sunday.

The statement gives TikTok a reprieve as it continues to negotiate a deal in hopes of staving off the full ban.

The apps were the subject of an executive order from President Donald Trump in early August in which Trump said the apps posed a threat to national security.

The new deadline adds more tension to the already dramatic negotiations currently happening between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and U.S. technology company Oracle. The two companies have been in talks about a deal to mollify the president’s concerns.

On Thursday, the two companies reached an agreement on a deal that would stop short of Trump’s demand that TikTok be sold to a U.S. company. Instead, TikTok would become a global company based in the U.S., with Oracle taking responsibility for TikTok’s U.S. operations and its handling of user data, according to two people familiar with the arrangement who were not authorized to speak publicly.

That deal still needs the approval of Trump and Chinese authorities.

“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 the news release.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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