How the US Could Block TikTok and WeChat From Americans

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President Trump has recently threatened to completely ban TikTok (short video app) and WeChat (messaging service) by late September stating that the Chinese Owned app poses national security threats. This will be the first time that the US has tried to ban a widely popular mobile Internet app.

The question is how will the United States go about banning WeChat and TikTok?

President Trump might order smartphone giants like Google Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. to completely remove TikTok and WeChat from their app stores.

For instance, after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps, including WeChat and TikTok, the government asked Apple and Google to remove these apps from their app stores. These companies had no option, but to comply.

It will be a rare and unprecedented step for the US. However, as of today, Apple has not yet disclosed any requests by the US government to take down some apps. Apple has published information on takedown requests since the year 2018.

Also, the government might order these apps to stop providing access to American users by intimidating them with dire legal consequences. In India, some of the banned apps chose to pull themselves from the app store.

One of the most important questions that people are asking is whether they will still be able to use WeChat and TikTok applications that they have already installed on their devices.

While the pre-installed apps might still work, the order by the government will bar updates and block access to bug fixes and new features.

While it’s possible for Google and Apple to remotely disable the pre-installed apps, they have not done it before.

As a result, it’s possible that the US users will only be left with the option of downloading these apps from other sources.

Users with smartphones running android could install the apps from other sources to Google’s app store. Hypothetically, they can download TikTok or WeChat from company sites.

Using alternatives to iPhone app store to install some apps is rather difficult, although not entirely impossible.

Will the American users be allowed access to web versions of the apps?

USA based hosting service like the Inc. and content delivery providers like Akamai Technologies Inc. might be banned from operating with the targeted apps. Hosting websites outside the US can still provide the same services to US users but at slower speeds.

Will Internet service providers ban users from accessing the services?

The US government might order the ISPs to block US users from access TikTok’s and WeChat’s servers like Beijing does to enforce the Great Firewall. However, this won’t be an easy task for the government of the United States since the US has many more ISPs as compared to China.

The Indian government ordered telecom companies and other web providers to block china based apps.

What about VPNs?

US users might choose to utilize the virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the ISP blocks and surf the web as they were outside the United States.

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