US Bans Chinese Apps TikTok and WeChat Starting Sunday
Downloads of Chinese applications TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the United States as of Sunday, the Commerce Department reported Friday, citing threats to "national security."
China has shown that it has the means and the intention to use these applications to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States, the US department said in a statement.
The United States thus fulfills the threat that the president, Donald Trump, wielded against these two Chinese applications, in a context of great tensions between the two economic giants.
Washington, however, leaves a door open for TikTok, a popular app for young people to share short videos, before completely banning it from operating on its territory.
The president leaves until November 12 to resolve the national security issues raised by TikTok. The bans could be lifted if necessary, the Commerce Department said.
TikTok, which belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance, has been operating under conditions in the United States since the beginning of August.
Trump, who accuses the company of spying for the Chinese government, then signed a decree to demand the sale of its American activities before September 20, under penalty of prohibition in the country.
US giants Microsoft and Walmart have made offers to buy ByteDance's TikTok activities, but the company turned it down on Sunday.
Californian software group Oracle has submitted an offer to become TikTok's "trusted technology partner", although details have not been released.
Although the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects significant amounts of user data, the Commerce Department noted.
The WeChat platform, which is owned by Chinese giant Tencent, is ubiquitous in Chinese lives for messaging, remote payments, and reservations, among other uses.