In yet another reason to vote, the U.S. Department of Commerce, under President Donald Trump, announced today that it is banning downloads of TikTok and WeChat starting this Sunday, September 20. According to Good Morning America, the Trump administration announced the measure was necessary to “safeguard the national security of the United States.”
Trump released an executive order in August about the threat posed by TikTok, claiming that the Chinese-owned app may “allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
TikTok released a statement from U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas after Trump first threatened to ban TikTok in early August. “I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok every day, bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives,” she said. “We’ve heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We’re not planning on going anywhere. TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas and connect with people across different backgrounds, and we are so proud of all the various communities that call TikTok home. I’m also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day, and the additional 10,000 jobs we’re bringing into this country over the next three years. I’m thrilled about our U.S. Creator Fund, where we just announced our $1 billion fund to support our creators. and when it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do. We appreciate the support, we’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here, and let’s stand for TikTok.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s full ban of TikTok won’t go into effect until after the election on November 12. But WeChat is already having more drastic restrictions placed starting on Sunday: GMA reports that the U.S. will ban the transfer of funds or processing payments when used in the country.
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross released a statement celebrating Trump’s move. “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” Ross said. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”
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