New Government Prohibitions on Mobile Apps, TikTok and WeChat
As of September 20, 2020, popular mobile applications, TikTok and WeChat, will be prohibited from online mobile application stores such as the App Store and the Google Play Store. The reasoning behind this decision is because the U.S. Department of Commerce has labeled these apps as threats against our country’s national security, foreign policy, and economy. These apps originate from Chinese tech companies known as ByteDance and Tencent, and have been claimed to use their software to farm the personal data of American citizens, such as their network activity, location data, and browsing history.
Some employees and users of TikTok and WeChat have attempted to go to court concerning the ban of each app, under the claim that the ban is unconstitutional. While the federal judge was sympathetic towards those supporting the preservation of the apps, no orders were issues against the U.S. government.
According to the App Store, TikTok is ranked at #1 in the category of entertainment apps, while WeChat is ranked at #9 in the social networking category. As the primary platform for creating and viewing digital content for many young Americans, a large amount of TikTok’s user base has become highly upset by this new decision. However, President Donald Trump has stated that if national security threats can be resolved by November 12, 2020, this prohibition of apps may be retracted.