TikTok is set to be banned from Android and iOS app stores in the US on Sunday, with full restrictions to follow on November 12.
For users, that means the TikTok app cannot be downloaded to their phone after September 20.
Those who have it on their phone after that date can continue using it, but they will not receive any updates to the app.
An outright restriction of TikTok will come into effect on November 12, at which time the service will no longer be accessible in the United States.
If any workarounds are developed to access TikTok by other means, they will also be banned.
The US Department of Commerce says the restrictions may be lifted if certain conditions are met:
“The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted.”
The move to ban TikTok in the US is the result of an Executive Order signed by President Trump on August 6, 2020.
The US Department of Commerce alleges that prohibiting the use of TikTok, as well as WeChat, is a matter of national security.
“Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality…
Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories…
This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”
TikTok disagrees with the decision to block new app downloads starting this Sunday.
In a statement from spokesperson Hilary McQuaide, TikTok addresses today’s announcement from the Department of Commerce:
“In our proposal to the U.S. 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.”
Prior to today’s announcement, TikTok was looking to sell its US operations to an American buyer.
TikTok would have avoided the forthcoming ban if it found a buyer on time, but no deal was reached.
At one point, a deal with Oracle looked promising, though it appears the two companies couldn’t come to terms.
Interim CEO at TikTok, Vanessa Pappas, called on Facebook and Instagram to support the company’s fight to remain in the US.
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
The United States is not the only country to ban TikTok, as India was the first to do so back in July.
Other countries, namely Japan, are considering a ban on TikTok as well but have not moved forward on those plans.
Alternatives to TikTok recently began popping up, with Instagram and YouTube introducing features dedicated to short-form video content.
YouTube’s “Shorts” are only available in India at this time, while Instagram’s “Reels” is available worldwide.
It’s too early to tell if either offering will satisfy users as a true alternative to TikTok.
- Instagram Reels Launches Worldwide to Compete With TikTok
- YouTube Shorts – Google’s Answer to TikTok?