TikTok downloads banned in the US on Sunday

Image Source: Photo by visuals on Unsplash

After the ban on U.S. downloads this Sunday, TikTok owner ByteDance reached an agreement to sell significant ownership to Oracle and Malwart. However, the Department of Congress has put the download ban on hold for a week. 

Meanwhile, a U.S. judge blocked the Commerce Department’s plan to completely ban WeChat (A chinese messaging app, owned by Tencent).

According to Bloomberg, Oracle has agreed to take 12.5 percent and Walmart will take 7.5 percent in Chinese firm. This way, both the companies will pay $12 billion for the 20 percent ownership share and it overall values the company at $60 billion. 

The idea is that TikTok’s U.S. operations will cover 20 percent of sales and the company will still have 80 percent in the new entity, which will be called TikTok Global. ByteDance also has control on the app’s code and technology development. 

On Sunday, Donald Trump said that “I approved the deal in concept”. This deal also gives ByteDance 12 months to hold a U.S. IPO, which can expand the company’s American ownership.

On Fox News this Monday, he explained that ByteDance will have nothing to do with and if they take any step, we will cancel the deal immediately. Everything is totally controlled by Oracle and I guess they are buying out the rest of it. 

He also added that If we find that Oracle doesn’t have the control we won’t approve the deal. The sale is still not approved from China. 

In the case of WeChat, Laurel Beeler, a judge for the District Court for the Northern District of California, issued an order against the decision of the Commerce Department. 

The Commerce Department had planned to completely ban this messaging app, which means it will be illegal to transfer internet traffic associated with it. 

Beeler made this decision, after reviewing the evidence shown from a group of plaintiffs. They argued that this ban impacts their first Amendment rights. Beeler Wrote that, “The evidence shown by plaintiffs reflects that WeChat is only used to communicate for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because chinese speakers with limited English have no other option than WeChat.  

According to Tencent, the app has 20 million users in the U.S. 

The video-sharing app, TikTok which has more than 100 millions users in the U.S. was set to become less accessible on Friday. This happened, as the executive orders previously signed by President Trump were planned to go into effect over the weekend. 

Security and privacy experts gave different reactions to this news. Push-pull between data privacy concerns and censorship is noted and highlighting that no security threat has come to light.

On this Sunday, downloads of TikTok have been cut off from the app store used in the U.S. Users who have already installed the app can use it without update until full ban on Nov. 12. 

Trump signed on an executive order to ban chinese apps on Aug 6. He cited “national security concerns” over the chinese apps. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross said in the release that the apps allow China to collect personal data of American citizens. 

The total shutdown of TikTok on Nov. 12 may be postponed by a deal with Oracle and Walmart.