TikTok and WeChat Ban: What you need to know

Tik Tok WeChat Banned

(Updated: September 28, 2020) Here’s what you need to know:

TikTok Is Safe For Now

September 28, 2020: A U.S. federal court has said a ban on TikTok will not go into effect on Monday (September 28, 2020) as scheduled. The parties have until COB today to request security redactions before the decision is made public. You can follow the civil case filed in The United States District Court for The District of Columbia: TikTok Inc. et al v. Trump et al (1:20-cv-02658).

September 20, 2020, the president said he liked the TikTok/Oracle/Walmart partnership solution and would back proposed deal. BUT, confusion reigns over the deal with TikTok parent ByteDance saying it will own 80% of the U.S.-based TikTok Global and Oracle saying that Americans will have “majority” control of the new entity. In technical terms, this is a “hot mess.”

WeChat – The US DOJ Fights Back

September 28, 2020: The Justice Department is asking a federal judge in San Francisco to allow the government to immediately bar downloads of WeChat in the US, saying the Chinese-owned messaging is a threat to national security. The request from the DOJ comes after US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler on Sunday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order requiring Apple and Google to remove WeChat from their app stores.

September 20, 2020: A U.S. judge in California halted the Trump administration’s ban on downloads of the Chinese-owned app WeChat. The move blocks the Commerce Department from forcing Apple and Alphabet’s Google to remove Tencent Holding’s WeChat.

Legal Issues

You are NOT breaking the law downloading either WeChat or TikTok if they are available in the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

You do not have to delete the apps (even after the ban). They belong to you.

Whether you’re an individual user or a business, there are no legal or civil penalties. On Wednesday (September 16, 2020), the Justice Department said the Commerce Department “does not intend to take actions that would target persons or groups whose only connection with WeChat is their use or downloading of the app to convey personal or business information between users.” It said such users would not be exposed to “criminal or civil liability.”

What Will Break

WeChat’s payment system will be blocked in the US starting on Sunday. It is unclear whether or not users will be able to send or receive money internationally.

Updates and security patches will end. I think I have the latest version of TikTok on my iPhone (17.5.1), it updated about a week ago. My Wechat is version 7.0.15. I’m pretty sure these are the latest versions. You should check to see if there are later updates today. If there are, download them – they may be the last available for a while (maybe ever).

What’s Next

There is more to this story. Much more. Please read my essay, “They Already Have Your Data.” It will help you frame the questions that need to be answered. I will update this writing as information becomes available. Please take the survey below and let me know what you think.


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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

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