TikTok, TikTok, time is up. The United States Commerce Department has announced plans to ban TikTok this Sunday, September 20, putting into motion the Trump administration’s August executive order. According to a press release, the Commerce Department will prohibit any attempt to download or update TikTok through an app store as of Sunday. The same goes for the app WeChat, which Trump launched a similar executive order against. The Department adds that it will be illegal for internet-service providers to enable “the functioning or optimization” of WeChat as of Sunday and TikTok as of November 12. So, the apps will just stop working. Further restrictions, such as banning workaround apps, could be announced later. “The president has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved,” the press release reads. “If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted.” There’s still a chance!
Trump initially gave TikTok 45 days from August 6 to be sold to a U.S. company from Chinese owners ByteDance or risk being banned. The administration suggested that the app is giving information to the Chinese government, claiming the ban is to protect us from “China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data.” TikTok denies these allegations. The company responded with a lawsuit stating the order “has the potential to strip the rights of that community without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.” They have since partnered with California-based tech company Oracle, the founder of which has fundraised for Trump in the past. With things looking bleak for TikTok, Charli D’Amelio, Josh Richards, and other popular creators have already gotten comfortable on competing app Triller. Let’s be honest, that’s where all the good dances were coming from, anyway.
Update, 12:35 p.m.: TikTok stuck up for its creators in a statement responding to the Trump administration’s new deadlines. “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,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “Our community of 100 million US 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.” The company says it has committed to “unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability” in a proposal to the United States government, “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,” the statement concludes. “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.”
In a tweet Friday morning, TikTok’s interim chief, Vanessa Pappas, expressed concern for the precedent that banning an app would set. “We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry,” she wrote. “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.”