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4 key things TikTok users should know as Trump’s ban looms on Sunday

September 18, 2020, 8:35 PM UTC

TikTok’s app will no longer be available to download in the U.S. following a Trump administration ban that starts this weekend.

The ban, which the U.S. Commerce Department attributes to national concerns, will affect the Chinese-owned video service starting at midnight on Sept. 20. If TikTok fails to fix its alleged security holes, or, in practice, fails to cut a deal to sell its business to a U.S. buyer, the government said it would pull the plug entirely on TikTok’s U.S. operations.

The Trump administration’s decision on Friday places a dark cloud over a hugely popular app with 100 million U.S. users. In just a few years, the service has grown into an international digital powerhouse that is home to videos of dance competitions, sing-alongs, and adorable puppies.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, previously had until Sept. 20 to sell its business, President Trump said. He has voiced concerns about the amount of data TikTok and other Chinese apps collect from U.S. users and the potential for the Chinese government to obtain that data.

Here’s everything that TikTok users need to know about what will happen to their app.

Will users still be able to use TikTok after Sunday?

The TikTok ban, at least immediately, only prohibits new downloads of the app in the U.S. Users who have downloaded the app before the deadline will still be able to use it on Sunday and beyond. But its availability could ultimately change if TikTok does not meet the U.S. government’s demands to secure user data on its service, at which time it would have to completely shutter on Nov. 12.

Will users still be able to get updates?

No, users in the U.S. will not be able to update their TikTok app beginning Sept. 20, including security updates, which raises concerns that the ban may make the app more vulnerable to hackers.

What happens on Nov. 12?

The federal government will impose a more comprehensive ban on Nov. 12 if TikTok fails to meet its demands. It would prevent Internet hosting or data center companies from providing service to TikTok, the Department of Commerce said on Friday, making it impossible for TikTok to operate in the U.S. The order also prevents network providers like AT&T and Verizon from allowing TikTok to use their networks.

Finally, TikTok is prohibited from operating in the U.S., even if repackaged under a different app or run on a different type of service using the same code.

What if TikTok and the U.S. reach a deal by Nov. 12?

If TikTok is able to appease Trump by Nov. 12, all restrictions will be lifted. This means that new users will again be able to download the app while all users will be able to download software updates.

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