The Trump Administration’s long-threatened TikTok ban is here, but don’t plan a funeral for the popular video app just yet.
Beginning Sunday, both Apple and Google will be forced to stop making TikTok available to download on their app stores. Likewise, TikTok will not be able to update its software after Sunday.
Nevertheless, users who download TikTok before the deadline will still be free to use it under the Trump administration’s order — a fact that has sparked a tidal wave of downloads, according to reports.
A full TikTok ban will only arrive if the app’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, can’t reach an agreement to sell its US business to a “very American company,” as ordered by President Trump. That result would force TikTok to completely shut down in the US on Nov. 12.
TikTok this week came to terms with California tech giant Oracle — headed by billionaire Trump supporter Larry Ellison — in a deal that would see the cloud-computing giant take a 20-percent stake. Walmart would also partner with Oracle under the proposed deal, which is still being examined by White House officials.
There is still time for President Trump to give his blessing to the deal before Sunday, which would allow the download ban to be avoided.
The Trump Administration has gone after TikTok because of concerns that China’s authoritarian government could obtain the sensitive user data collected by the app and use it to spy on Americans.
TikTok has aggressively denied that it has ever shared data with Beijing, and has said that it would not do so if asked.
In a Friday statement, a TikTok spokesperson said that the company was “disappointed” about the decision, reiterated that TikTok is “committed to protecting [user] privacy and safety” and said that the company would continue its legal challenge to Trump’s order.
“In our proposal to the US Administration, we’ve already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security,” TikTok said.