Update: On Sunday, a federal judge blocked Trump's TikTok ban. So for the time being, you can download and update the app without fear of losing access to the platform forever. A TikTok spokesperson told Refinery29, "We're pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees."
TikTok is still working with the administration to close a deal that would ensure the app's long-term presence in the United States. TikTok now has until November 12 to sort things out.
Earlier this month, TikTok set forth a proposal to join forces with Oracle, a California-based tech company helmed by one of Trump's biggest fans in Silicon Valley. The president approved of the deal yesterday, but the Chinese government has to grant its approval of any sale.
So, TikTok will continue to exist as it has been since early August, and like with the rest of the world, we don't know exactly what it will be like come November.
This story was originally published on September 18, 2020.
In a series of escalating actions against China and American youth culture, the Trump administration deals another blow to Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat.
On Friday, the administration announced that TikTok and WeChat would no longer allow the app stores to carry those apps starting September 20. For WeChat, this means that the app is essentially banned in the U.S. starting Monday at midnight. But for TikTok, it's not so absolute: You will be blocked from downloading or updating the app starting Monday at midnight, but the app will remain on your phone and function as normal.
If TikTok is able to close a deal with Oracle and address the administration's national security concerns by November 12, then this ban could be lifted. If not, it marks the beginning of the end for TikTok, and the app will be fully banned.
The administration continues to claim its attack on TikTok is purely motivated by a concern for national security and for the protection of Americans from "the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," the commerce secretary told the New York Times. But this week, the president also signed an executive order to establish a "national commission to promote patriotic education." This move shows that the government doesn't care about the First Amendment and its citizens' civil liberties like it used to.
TikTok plans to fight to the bitter end. In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson told Refinery29 that the app, "will continue to challenge the unjust executive order," and maintains that the order, "was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the U.S. of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods." Currently, over 100 million Americans use TikTok and creators have said time and time again that they can't simply migrate their business to another platform.
The ban comes just days after TikTok came to the administration with a proposed deal with Oracle, a tech company best-known for its very pro-Trump co-founder. With Oracle as a "trusted tech partner," all of the American user data would be stored and protected by an American company.
When India banned TikTok earlier this summer, it also started by blocking WeChat and TikTok from app stores. Now, many Indian citizens use Reels. Since Reels isn't all that popular, if the administration keeps going down this path, we might have to head over to Triller, where Mike Tyson and the Sway House boys await.