The Commerce Department announced Friday morning that it would ban U.S. business transactions with Chinese-owned social apps WeChat and TikTok on Sunday.
The announcement comes as President Donald Trump is expected to announce Friday whether or not 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 U.S.
It’s unclear if the Commerce Department’s announcement means there’s no possibility of a deal going through before the Sunday deadline, and it could be an aggressive move from the Trump Administration to push for its original intention for TikTok to be fully owned by a U.S. company.
“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 a statement Friday.
Friday’s announcement from the Commerce Department appears to be enforcing Trump’s original executive order from August 6 that gave TikTok 45 days to sell its U.S. business to a U.S. company or face a ban in the U.S. WeChat, which is one of the most popular social messaging apps in the world, is owned by the Chinese company Tencent. TikTok’s parent company is the Chinese company ByteDance.
The Commerce Department’s statement on Friday said that U.S. companies would be banned from distributing WeChat and TikTok, meaning the two major mobile app stores run by Apple and Google would have to remove the apps from their libraries.
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