The U.S. Commerce Department said today it will ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from app stores on Sunday and will enforce technical restrictions that will seriously limit their functionality for existing users.
The order cites national security and data privacy concerns and follows weeks of deal making over the video-sharing service TikTok. President Donald Trump has pressured the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a domestic company but so far that hasn’t happened. TikTok expressed “disappointment” over the move and said it would continue to challenge President Donald Trump’s “unjust executive order” but at the end of the day, the security concern is real.
TikTok has The become the subject of widespread concern and paranoia and has had major privacy concerns flare up in the past. It is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission for potentially failing to adequately delete videos from users who are 13 and under, as required by law. TikTok stores not only the content that users create on it, but significant metadata on users such as how and when users signed up for the service, phone numbers, device types and significant location tracking data. The concern is that this information might be used by the Chinese government to track the activity of American citizens. The U.S. military banned TikTok from government issued phones in January, as did India and Australia. Many corporate entities such as Wells Fargo also issued bans within their organizations.
So, with all of these growing concerns and negotiations the blanket ban is expected to take effect on Sunday. If you or someone you know uses TikTok and still has the urge to post short, funny videos, check out Instagram Reels! Instagram Reels is a feature within the Instagram app that let you record 15 second clips, adjust the audio speed (fast or slow) add music and let out your inner silliness. Videos get shared on Instagram, so it’s sure to be seen. Here’s a quick how-to from Instagram’s blog to help you get started:
Stay safe out there.