Only a few days ago, it seemed that Tiktok and WeChat were heading to their doom as the Trump administration concluded that they pose major security risks for American users. In accordance, an order issued by the Commerce Department would have banned the two apps on Sunday.
The grim outlook pushed WeChat downloads to a new record as they soared by 800% in comparison to the download rates observed in the past, as users wanted to get the latest version of the app on their devices before the ban was enforced.
Stay of ban
Despite current concerns, both apps have received a temporary reprieve that keeps them on the app storefronts. One was granted by President Trump, in the light of an upcoming deal between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart that would ease concerns associated with the security of user data.
According to the deal, Oracle will handle the storage and safekeeping of user data for the US region, securing required hardware. Oracle and Walmart will also be able to join in a pre-IPO financing round, getting access to a 20% cumulative stake for the upcoming TikTok Global.
The deal sounds good in theory, but there are lots of aspects that need to be discussed and approved. TikTok Global would see a transition to the US, bringing a large number of jobs in the process. However, the deal also needs the approval of the Chinese government before it can be secured.
In the case of WeChat, an injunction decided by a judge, who argued that WeChat is a valuable social media and communication tool for many users, including Chinese users who lack proficiency in English or access to other tools that facilitate communication via internet connections, blocked a ban of the app for now.
The judge also mentioned that the amount of evidence that accompanies national security concerns is not significant enough.
Willie Hahn, senior editor at The Trending Times, writes about the intersection between money and politics with a focus on lobbying and tech articles. Willie previously at the Android Authority and Vice. Willie can be reached by email.