Commerce Sec. Ross: TikTok Staying Intact Until Nov. 12

TikTok will stay intact until Nov. 12, even with the order announced Friday to ban downloads of the Chinese-owned short video platform, but after that, if there’s no deal for its purchase, the app will “for all practical purposes” be shut down, Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [they] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps, or maintenance,” Ross told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “So if that were to continue over a long period of time, there might be a gradual degradation of services, but the basic TikTok would stay intact until Nov. 12.”

Commerce is issuing an order Friday to ban the downloads of both TikTok and the messaging app WeChat beginning Sunday. President Donald Trump can still rescind the TikTok ban before Sunday, as its owner, ByteDance, has been in talks with Oracle Corp. and others to create a new company, TikTok Global, which is aiming to address concerns about user data. However, ByteDance will still need Trump’s approval.

The apps are dangerous, said Ross, because they collect data on locality, streaming preferences, and more.

“Every bit of behavior that the American side is indulging in becomes available to whoever is watching on the other side,” said Ross. “China has been taking all kinds of data from all sorts of internet activities.”

The Commerce Department’s order will mean Apple Inc.’s App Store, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play, and others will not be able to offer the apps on any platform “that can be reached from within the United States,” a senior Commerce official told Reuters.

The order doesn’t mean U.S. companies can’t do business on WeChat outside the United States. Companies like Walmart and Starbucks use WeChat’s embedded “mini-app” programs for transactions and to engage consumers in China.

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