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Trump blocks US downloads from TikTok, WeChat on Sunday

The Commerce Department announced on Friday morning that it would ban US business transactions using Chinese social apps WeChat and TikTok on Sunday.

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday whether the government will approve a deal for Oracle to take a minority stake in TikTok and become a “trusted technology partner” for the company in the US

It’s unclear whether the Commerce Department’s announcement means there is no way a deal will be closed before the Sunday deadline, and it could be an aggressive move by the Trump administration to push on the original intent to have TikTok fully owned of a US company.

“At the direction of the President, we have taken significant steps to combat China̵

7;s malicious collection of personal information from American citizens while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of US laws and regulations.” Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Friday.

The Department of Commerce announcement on Friday appears to be enforcing Trump’s original Aug. 6 order that gave TikTok 45 days to sell its U.S. business to a U.S. company or on U.S. WeChat, one of the most popular social messaging outlets Apps to impose a ban in the world is owned by the Chinese company Tencent. The parent company of TikTok is the Chinese company ByteDance.

The Department of Commerce’s statement on Friday said US companies would ban the distribution of WeChat and TikTok as of September 20, which means the two major mobile app stores operated by Apple and Google will be removing the apps from their libraries would have to. The statement also prevents US companies from providing services through WeChat “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the US”.

WeChat is a popular marketing and sales tool for US companies, mainly in China but also around the world. With U.S. social apps like Facebook and Instagram banned in China, WeChat is the primary app people use for social networking and e-commerce. It is also a popular app used by people in the US to communicate with people in China as US apps are banned in China.

The Department of Commerce’s announcement also sets a separate time frame for TikTok, which will go into effect on November 12th. The rules, which begin November 12, contain provisions preventing U.S. companies from providing Internet hosting and services to TikTok. This could be directed towards the deal negotiated between TikTok and Oracle that would provide cloud services to TikTok if Trump approves it, and could give TikTok and Oracle more time to work out a deal that Trump will approve.

Representatives from Tencent, TikTok, WeChat, Apple and Google were not immediately available for comment.

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