U.S. bans Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, citing security concerns

Katy Stech Ferek and John D. McKinnon

The Trump administration will begin banning downloads and use of popular Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat late Sunday, in a move U.S. officials said was driven by national security concerns but which drew objections for impinging on free-speech rights.

The Commerce Department issued regulations Friday to bar U.S. companies from providing downloads or updates for the TikTok and WeChat apps after 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Companies will also be banned from providing data hosting services for WeChat at that time.

“Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories,” the Commerce Department said. “Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services” of the Chinese Communist Party.

The regulations implement executive orders signed by President Trump last month to ban the apps, with two key concessions.

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