US to restrict WeChat, TikTok citing national security reasons

The order was put into place on Friday, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to "combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data"

Some security experts have raised concerns that ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company that owns TikTok, would maintain access to information on the 100 million TikTok users in the United States, creating a security risk. Representational image: iStock

The Commerce Department will roll out a ban of transactions in the U.S. using TikTok and WeChat starting on Sunday (September 20).

The order was put into place on Friday (September 18), according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to “combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data”.

“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The government previously said that using and downloading the app to communicate will not be a banned transaction, although messaging on the app could be directly or indirectly impaired by the ban, and people who use it for messaging will not be subject to penalties.

Some security experts have raised concerns that ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company that owns TikTok, would maintain access to information on the 100 million TikTok users in the United States, creating a security risk.

In response to these allegations, according to news agency Reuters, ByteDance has been talks with Oracle Corp and others to create a new company, TikTok Global, that will reportedly address US’ concerns about the security of its users’ data.

However, ByteDance still needs US President Trump’s approval to go ahead with the new company.

(With inputs from agencies)

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