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Commerce Department bans downloads of TikTok and WeChat in U.S.

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The Commerce Department on Friday issued a sweeping order banning any transactions on TikTok and WeChat in the U.S., saying the Chinese-owned apps create “unacceptable risks to our national security.”

Starting Monday, TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores, senior Commerce Department officials said. Users will not be able to download the apps to their phones, and those who have them already installed will not be able to receive updates.

The government is also banning U.S. entities from hosting data for WeChat and from sending money or processing payments using the app. That rule makes the app essentially unusable in the U.S., because it bars U.S.-based internet service providers from interacting with the app.

“For all practical purposes it will be shut down in the U.S., but only in the U.S., as of midnight on Monday,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday.

TikTok vowed to challenge the ban, which it called “unjust.” The American Civil Liberties Union also denounced the order as an infringement on Americans’ rights to free expression.

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