DONALD Trump is moving forward with a controversial decision to ban downloads and maintenance of China-owned app TikTok on Sunday.
The announcement was made by the Commerce Department on Friday morning which made the call “at the president’s direction.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement: “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.”
Another Chinese app, WeChat, will be effectively crippled on Sunday, with a ban on companies offering “internet hosting, content delivery networks, internet transit or peering services” to WeChat, according to the New York Times.
Those same heavy restrictions will also be applied to TikTok on November 12, unless the app is acquired by an American software company and Trump’s concerns about national security implications are alleviated.
The controversial announcement has left Americans divided – with some calling for the apps to be allowed and others backing the ban.
One Twitter userdubbed the move as “Dictatorship,” to which another responded: “Many countries have banned tik tok because China is using it to spy on people all over the world.”
Other users were asking is the president could be “banned” instead and saying “welcome to North Korea,” while some said “finally thank god” and welcomed the “wonderful news.”
The news comes on the same day that Trump is expected to approve a deal for Oracle, a computer software company, to take a minority stake in TikTok.
The deal would make the company a “trusted technology partner” for the company in the United States.
ByteDance admitted on Thursday that China will need to approve the agreement with Oracle for control of the world’s most downloaded app, indicating how its bid to stave off a US ban could be further complicated.
The besieged company has spent weeks negotiating a deal with cash-flushed tech firms after Trump last month ordered the sale of TikTok’s US operations and threatened to shut down the app nationwide.
Citing national security concerns as the drive for the ban, Trump set a deadline of September 15 to complete the deal. A ban would almost certainly mean TikTok users in the US could no longer use the app.
At the 11th hour, ByteDance reported that it had reached an agreement with Oracle but it appears the firm still has a lot of work to do to avoid catastrophe.
According to Reuters, ByteDance still needs approval from China before the deal can go ahead. The White House is still weighing up whether the agreement meets the terms set in Trump’s August executive order.
Trump on Wednesday raised questions about ByteDance’s plans to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s US operations.
He said he did not favor the idea of the Chinese firm retaining control, after six Republican lawmakers urged him to reject the proposal.
Trump has said he would ban TikTok in the US on Sunday if ByteDance does not comply amid concerns that the company could pass user data to China’s Communist Party government.