By Aditi Shukla
WeChat and TikTok have been making consistent headlines for the past few months after coming into the middle of a trade war between the United States and China.
TikTok is a social networking app where users share and watch short video clips. Because of the TikTok algorithm, every video has the potential to go viral. The app is commonly used by teenagers and has an estimated 80 million U.S. users. WeChat is a messaging, calling and payment platform. It is not as popular in the U.S. as TikTok but is the primary method of communication between individuals in America and China.
The contention surrounding TikTok and WeChat began on August 6, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking the transaction and downloading of TikTok that would begin 45 days after the announcement. Trump said that if TikTok did not sell to a U.S company by November, the app would face a complete ban in the U.S.
Trump cited the reasons for the executive order as national security concerns, his primary concerns being data security and privacy. There is also underlying tension between the U.S. and China surrounding technology in general; many U.S. technological companies are unable to operate freely in China.
WeChat was supposed to be removed from U.S stores on September 20. When an app is removed from U.S. app downloading stores, current users can no longer update it and no new users can download it.
Just a few hours before the motion was going to be executed, however, a judge blocked the action, ruling that the data that WeChat collected was not a threat to U.S. national security. On September 27, the motion to ban TikTok was blocked with an injunction. Trump has said that Tiktok can avoid the ban if it sells to a U.S. company. Multiple companies, including Microsoft, have made offers, but none have been accepted.