Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting any U.S. individual or company from doing business with ByteDance (the owner of TikTok), and WeChat. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information. ...any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd. (a.k.a.
This is extremely important because if Apple somehow wound up prohibited from letting WeChat on the App Store in China, the iPhone would be made effectively useless in the country. 99% of smartphones in China use WeChat, not only to communicate and interact through social media but to make payments, pay bills, purchase travel tickets, and more. As Dobie again notes, "A phone without WeChat in China is more useless than an Android device without GMS [Google Mobile Services] in the West.". You can rest assured that lawyers at Apple, WeChat, TikTok, and more are furiously poring over this latest executive order trying to figure out just exactly what this could mean.
Apple recently reported third-quarter earnings that saw a return to growth for the iPhone, however, shipments of the smartphone could drop as much as 30% if the tech giant is forced to remove WeChat from its App Store, according to one analyst. Last week, Trump ordered an unspecific ban on "financial transactions" with the companies that own TikTok and WeChat, ByteDance Ltd. and Tencent Holdings, respectively.
"The United States must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security,” read the executive order, announced Thursday night. “With parent companies based in China apps like Tiktok, WeChat and others are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content censorship,” Pompeo added.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany didn't respond to a request for additional details about whether Trump will block WeChat or TikTok from being distributed on the App Store. "TikTok has a documented history of censoring free speech to conform to Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and we take the data of Americans very seriously.". The estimate marks the latest way analysts are attempting to understand what Trump's government bans on the two Chinese apps from our smartphones would mean for companies like Apple.
Trump is frequently criticized for making policy decisions, such as imposing tariffs on imports, that raise prices on American industry and consumers.
Imagine waking up one day, unlocking your phone, and realizing that you could no longer send or receive messages through your favorite app. That’s exactly what the Trump administration is attempting to do with WeChat, a communications app that millions of people in the United States depend on to connect with friends, family, and business contacts across the world.
On Friday, we and the ACLU of Northern California asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the Trump administration’s autocratic effort to ban WeChat. Our friend-of-the-court brief, filed in support of a group of WeChat users who have challenged the ban, explains why the administration’s actions violate the First Amendment.
For many of WeChat’s users, the app is their primary or only source of communication with friends and family in China, where the government blocks popular messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. As we explained at the time, WeChat, like many U.S.-owned social media and messaging apps, including Facebook and Instagram, does collect broad categories of user data.
But the Trump administration made no attempt to address this concern in a way that would minimize interference with WeChat users’ speech, as the First Amendment requires. Given these dangers, courts require the government to meet an exceptionally high burden when it seeks to justify this type of restriction on speech.