back to article Bad news for 'cool dads' trying to bond with their teens: China-owned TikTok and WeChat face US download ban by Sunday

The US Department of Commerce has threatened to ban new downloads of Chinese-owned social media platforms Tiktok and Wechat from app stores this weekend. “The Department of Commerce today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    A very leaky sieve

    Starting from Sunday 20 September, the two Chinese-owned apps will be banned from being hosted on US app stores.

    Most people who want them (especially WeChat) will already have them. For the rest, there are lots of other app stores and instructions on how to sideload. Great way to educate people about how to get along outside the walled garden!

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: A very leaky sieve

      I assumed that this would be what happens, but a lot of the "big" users are apparently jumping ship to rivals already (also in "apparently" news…TikTok has rivals). So I'm guessing there are still plenty of young people that aren't tech-savvy, or the rivals are US-based and those users are getting payoffs to move over and take their followers with them. Possibly both.

  2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    Queue a huge rush

    Anyone who was toying with getting one of the apps might decide to do this right now, so they are not locked out.

    And if Trump Okays the Oracle deal, to give Larry the reward for his loyal support, then apps users will simply have two sets of eyes watching them: America's and China's. Group hug!!!

    1. DS999

      Only a problem if you live in the US

      The executive order only bans them from US app stores, so people in the UK and EU will still be able to download them.

      The part of the order that bans WeChat from being involved in financial transactions is also supposed to be only in the US, but it could hit elsewhere given how intertwined international banking is.

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        Re: Only a problem if you live in the US

        so people in the UK and EU will might still be able to download them

        There, FTFY.

        The US has a "beef" with China and the American government "encouraged" Allies to go along for the ride (Huawei/ZTE). TikTok and WeChat is not difficult to include in that "list".

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: if Trump Okays the Oracle deal

      He won't do that until his [cough][coug] commission has been paid into his Cayman Island Account.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      <background_music>Here I come to save the DAAAAY!</background_music>

      One needs to look at this through the lens of the Orange-utan's hyperinflated ego.1 Here is a homemade (and ham-fisted...but what other type of action is tRump capable of?) photo-op when at the last possible minute, he <background_noise type="swoosh"> swoops in </background_noise> and saves the day for pre-pubescent teens (and adults with the mentality of pre-pubescent teens) throughout the 48 states! Hurrah!

      1Ewwww! I'll never be able to get that image out of my head!

  3. overunder Silver badge

    John Madden Football.

    The original John Madden Football video game developed its plays using a non-authorized copy of an actual playbook from real life. It was an older playbook but still worrisome for the original... wait I'm sorry... I thought this article was about some country copying the U.S.A. who themselves copied their playbook from China.

  4. Tom Chiverton 1

    So the 5 eye's spooks have found a really good hole, and don't want anyone stepping in and fixing it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So the 5 eye's spooks have found a really good hole, and don't want anyone stepping in and fixing it ?"

      So the spooks can get all the latest Tiktoks? They wouldn't want to miss out on the latest Fortnite dance the kids were doing would they?

  5. Danny 2 Silver badge

    First they came for the tweenagers, and I did nothing

    I would download TikTok out of solidarity, but much like the President I am fugly and can't dance and don't understand it.

    1. Blazde

      Re: First they came for the tweenagers, and I did nothing

      Having been subjected to several TikTok videos I can reassure you being unable to dance is a complete non-issue. As long as you can roll your eyes, stick your tongue out at funny angles and are willing to use a cute filter to make whatever monstrosity you film magically look great then dive in.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: First they came for the tweenagers, and I did nothing

        I can't do any of those things.

        I can glower like Paddington Bear. In the 1980s that was a career skill.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The thing about telling teenagers (who are the primary users of Tiktok at least) that something is now forbidden, is this will make even those not that interested before more likely go and download it before it gets banned. As how many US teenagers give a shit if there lip sync videos are being monitored by the Chinese/.

    As for not allowing US based app store to host them or provide updated, If i were Bytedance or Tencent I would push out an update to the apps today to allow update from there own servers before they get booted off Google Play and Apple app store. They code do it via some hidden code just like Epic did to enable their in app payments after Apple had approved the app.

  7. Steve Foster
    Facepalm

    Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

    I wonder what the US would say if China turned around and banned FaceBook, InstaGram, WhatsApp and Twitter (or are some of these already banned by China?).

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

      From what I’ve read, I think most (all?) of those are banned in China

      1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

        Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

        They should be banned globally

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They should be banned globally

          And...

          - The CEO's (especially Zuck) have all their assets confiscated in lieu of back taxes

          - Spend the next 25 years in a Federal Supermax

          1. MiguelC Silver badge
            Terminator

            Re: They should be banned globally

            Come on, no Judge Dredd-like execution? You're going soft there...

      2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

        Nope. They're blocked. So they don't work, but that's a bit different architecturally!

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

          also a bit different philosophically.

          1. China bans U.S. applications because they're trying to censor and control and spy on everyone

          2. U.S. bans China applications to PREVENT China from censoring, spying on, and controlling U.S. Citizens.

          At least, that's MY understanding.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

      All of those are entirely blocked in China, either for having too many people who like democracy on them or allowing encrypted communication. So the U.S. is the copycat here. It's always a great sign when China is your role model, isn't it?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

      lol, guess you know and extra reason now why, they started it lol

    4. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

      Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

      I assume El Trumpo is trying to make a point here. The great Chinese firewall blocks Google, Facebook & WhatsApp (for commerce and spying reasons). I am sympathetic to what I assume his belligerent approach is on this topic.

      From what I understand, having WhatsApp backdoored onto your phone is an actual crime that will get Uighur citizens sent to those "re-education camps".

      On one hand though, I would be pleased to be monitored by Chinese spies instead of 5 eyes.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

        Google was banned in China because they refuse to comply with the local regulations abd censorship.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/why-google-quit-china-and-why-its-heading-back/424482/

        I don't think Tiktok or Wechat are given any such opportunity.

  8. Roland6 Silver badge

    Impact on TikToc (India) ?

    I note recently ByteDance shutdown Vigo Video - widely used in India, to encourage users to migrate to TikTok.

    So it would be interesting to know if Trump's ban will impact say the iStore (India) because it effectively is just a shim on the iStore (USA), likewise for the Play Store...

  9. something_or_another

    Fuck Trump, but....

    Finally! China's bullshit has gone on long enough. Trump can die, but not before he bans all their crapware.

    Make Assasination Great Again!

  10. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    This is hugely problematic: the US government is trying to ban distribution of someone else's intellectual property. This is no different from trying to ban a book.

    Of course, had the ban been written to block the allegedly problematic traffic to Chinese servers, it would have had a very different complexion. But the First Amendment says that the government isn't allowed to prohibit publication.

    Federal court injunction in 3, 2, 1...

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Its not a matter of 'cool dads' bonding with teens, its a matter of the Bill of Rights. I do not know by what authority the Federal government feels it can restrict my ability to download this application. It has to be fought because if we let them get away with this they'll come for anything else they feel like. Its not as if laws were passed or anything like that -- Trump issues a diktat and we're all supposed to blindly follow.

      Not me.

      The lawsuit might be problematical. If nothing else we're in a hell of a jam at the moment because RBG has just died and the Republicans are bursting to get some ultra-right wing ideolgue on the court (who, being a champion of freedom &tc. will immediately start working on restricting others' freedoms).

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      ... AND there it is:

      https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.cand.364733/gov.uscourts.cand.364733.59.0.pdf

      "The court grants the plaintiffs’ motion for a nationwide injunction against the implementation

      of Executive Order 13,943 (limited to the Secretary of Commerce’s Identification of Prohibited

      Transactions 1 through 6)"

      (I haven't digested the text, but it doesn't seem friendly to the government on First Amendment grounds. The lawsuit alleges several grounds to block the action, but on at least two the judge was not persuaded -- either the parties hadn't briefed the issue sufficiently, or the matter wasn't 'ripe').

  11. Someone Else Silver badge

    Truth in advertising...

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Republican Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps what ever means necessary to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S,” said the American government agency in a statement earlier today.

    There FTFY.

  12. Mark192 Bronze badge

    China wins

    A US company will pay billions for an app that will be worthless in a few months/years as their users inevitably move on to the next big thing.

  13. NonSSL-Login

    Tik Tik is bad mmmkay and should be banned

    But not if the US own it. The app is fine then.

    Quantum fuzzy logic or brazen attack on another country because they have an app as popular as their own and want everyone using just US owned apps and hosting for NSA spying reasons? Me cynical and asking rhetorical questions?!

    By now everyone should be able too see how these attacks on TikTok/Huawei/Anything chinese that gets popular, are protectionist control actions by the US, not based on any reality of threat. Unfortunately this is going to push China to start working more closely with Russia and its other allies more and at the same reduce it's need for anything American. Ultimately the US is shooting itself in the foot politically and economically over the long term to what is a short term gain, if it is indeed even that.

    Still sore Trump fcked up my purchase of the P40 pro. Hopefully someone else will use the Leica cameras in their models. Not that some countries will be able to use the cameras to make videos on any non-US apps....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    banned from being hosted or delivered in America, or served over a CDN, or peered

    this sounds very much like a Great Wall of America :)

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: banned from being hosted or delivered in America, or served over a CDN, or peered

      well if China allowed their application to send data to/from servers hosted in the USA that were NOT forwarding it along to the Chinese Communist Party for spying and other purposes, this wouldn't be an issue. And that's pretty much my understanding of it. Same with the ZTE thing.

      As for "Cool Dads" bonding with their teens. Just say NO to them. A *LOT*. "Dad can I xxx?" "NO". They'll be better off for it. As a dad, your job is to embarrass them and keep them from doing things that are stupid, which is pretty much EVERYTHING they want to do. So no need to learn the latest teen lingo. They can learn the lingo YOU used when YOU wre a teen. "Like, totally, NO!"

      So who needs Tik Tok anyway... !

  15. William1940

    You must've missed this decision today:

    A federal judge has blocked President Trump's executive order that would have effectively shut down popular Chinese app WeChat, ruling that the action represents a free speech violation.

    The complete story is here:

    https://www.npr.org/2020/09/20/914983610/federal-judge-blocks-trump-administrations-u-s-wechat-ban

    Bravo ! Such Trump BS. There is scant evidence that WeChat collects user data for the Chinese government.

  16. JohnG Silver badge

    Regardless of what Mr Trump does or who buys ByteDance, the TikTok app is Chinese spyware, masquerading as a social media app.

    1. NonSSL-Login

      It's not quite a Facebook where everyone posts everything they do daily and informs the NSA exactly who they know and how along with pictures for their facial recognition database plus telephone numbers.

      Its more akin to twitter where you follow people and make comments on their videos. So its mostly that nasty metadata you are sharing compared to Facebook where you give everything including all your likes, dislikes and views on everything so that NSA algorithms can decide if you might say something nasty one day about america so they have an excuse to search all your luggage and computers next time you go through one of their airports.

      1. JohnG Silver badge

        The bigger problem with the TikTok app is all the data it snarfs from your phone and uploads to servers in China, not so much the stuff you choose to post.

  17. teknopaul Silver badge

    So they built a great firewall, like China.

    If in the US they "block Wechat access" that implies they have built the Firewall already, and now they are just starting to use it.

    This is big news.

    If their first use is Wechat you can expect a lot of other stuff to drop from the US version of the Internet quite soon.

    Trump did say he was going to build a wall. I wonder how much of the Internet in Mexico is routed via the US? Perhaps the Mexicans are going to pay for it.

  18. Sherrie Ludwig

    Cali judge issues injuction

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/20/judge-halts-trump-administration-order-banning-wechat-from-app-stores.html

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