PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting on Sunday, you’ll no longer be able to download TikTok and WeChat as the Trump administration’s executive orders against the two apps are set to take effect. These changes shouldn’t impact you right away if you’re a TikTok user or have the app on your phone, but all updates including features, product or security updates will be halted.
This is a move that has never been made in the history of the U.S., where an administration is telling a software company how to operate.
“They’ll be blocking any kind of transactions happening on through these kinds of apps. That will also reduce the number of features that you can use,” Subodha Kumar, information systems and statistical science professor at Temple University, said.
The Trump administration’s claim is that TikTok poses a threat to the country’s national security and economy because China has been collecting people’s personal data for malicious purposes and that the company shares user data with the Chinese government.
The U.S. order goes into effect starting Sunday, which begins with users no longer being able to download the app.
TikTok’s 800 million users will still be able to create content at their own risk.
“You should still be able to use the app. However, we really don’t know because this situation is entirely unprecedented and it does impact the content delivery networks and servers that the content flows through so the apps could stop working, they could work in a limited capacity,” CNET at CBS News senior producer Dan Patterson said. “We just don’t know what’s going to happen come Sunday.”
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has until Nov. 12 to address those issues.
Interestingly enough, there’s a pending sale of TikTok to a U.S. company.
“ByteDance, which is TikTok’s owner in China. They’re also considered the world’s most valuable startup with a valuation of over $100 billion is in the process of potentially shifting their assets, that includes TikTok, and 100 million TikTok users over to Oracle,” Patterson said.
TikTok has become an international phenomenon. The Swab Squad from Jefferson University Hospital’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force went viral after posting on the app. Jefferson was the first drive-thru testing site in Philadelphia and they used TikTok to bring a sense of calm.
“It has been really amazing to see the avenues of creativity that have come out as a result of the pandemic and TikTok being one of them, but more so a way to spread joy, create some positivity and also inform some people,” Jeff Salvatore, with the Swab Squad, said.
In a tweet, Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s interim head, says, in part, ” We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation.”
We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. 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.
— Vanessa Pappas (@v_ness) September 18, 2020
In a statement Friday morning, TikTok officials tell Eyewitness News that they will continue to challenge the order so they can continue to serve the 100 million U.S users of the app.
You can read the full statement below:
“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12. Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, 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. In our proposal to the US Administration, we’ve already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security. Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers. We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”