After the Trump administration on Friday announced a ban on U.S. downloads of TikTok (and WeChat) to take effect this Sunday, you might be wondering: Can Americans still use TikTok?
The short answer is “yes.” But here’s the deal.
The Commerce Department’s ban blocks companies lie Apple and Google from making TikTok available on their app stores, starting on Sunday. (TikTok will also be blocked from updating its app in the U.S. as of Sunday, too.) Users who already have TikTok on their phones, though, will still be able to use the app. Loren Gray’s song clips and Sarah Cooper’s Trump parodies can continue.
So if you have TikTok on your phone heading into Sunday, you’re still able to post all the videos you like. This applies to about 100 million people in the U.S. who are already regular TikTok users — and that figure may spike over Friday and Saturday, as people download the app just in case they want to use it moving forward.
The real key date to keep in mind is November 12. That’s when President Trump’s executive order, banning TikTok unless its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, sells its U.S. operations to an American company, goes into effect. If TikTok isn’t able to reach a deal that alleviates the government’s national security concerns, the app will go away on that date. Still, American users who have the app on their phone as of Sunday would be able to use TikTok until November 12.
“As to TikTok, it’s just upgrades, maintenance things like that, that would be shut down at this stage,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Fox News on Friday. “The real shutdown would come after November 12 in the event that there is not another transaction.”
Whether a deal that satisfies the Trump Administration is reached by then remains up in the air. Government officials this week have been reviewing Oracle’s bid to become TikTok’s “trusted technology partner” in the U.S., and President Trump is expected to make a decision on the matter as soon as Friday.
On Wednesday, President Trump said he wasn’t a fan of any deal that leaves ByteDance with a majority stake of TikTok’s U.S. business.
“Conceptually, I can tell you, I don’t like that,” Trump said. “If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that.”
If Oracle’s deal gets the green light, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said earlier this week it would lead to a new wing of the company dubbed TikTok Global. The deal would lead to about 20,000 new American jobs, Mnuchin said. TikTok Global would also look to file for an initial public offering about a year from now, a person familiar with the deal told TheWrap on Thursday.
But to clarify again what likely brought you here: if you have TikTok on your phone by Sunday, you’ll still be able to use the app up until November 12, at a minimum. And if the president ends up signing off on Oracle’s bid, the November 12 ban date won’t end up mattering.