Banning WeChat and TikTok Puts Consumers at Risk and Imposes Unnecessary Burden on U.S. Companies, Says ITIF

September 18, 2020

WASHINGTON—In response to today’s announcement that the Trump administration plans to ban TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores, ITIF vice president Daniel Castro issued the following statement:

The Trump Administration has provided no evidence that a ban on WeChat and TikTok is necessary to address a national security threat.
Instead, the actions announced today put consumers at risk by cutting them off from software updates, including necessary security updates. In addition, prohibiting intermediaries such as Internet service providers and content delivery networks from optimizing their networks to deliver TikTok content imposes an unnecessary and unfair burden on U.S. companies.

If the administration wants to pressure China to allow U.S. companies to operate in the Chinese market, then it should be clear on that goal. However, if the administration decides to ban these apps altogether, it should explicitly prohibit these companies from operating in the United States while following due process.

In comparison to this de facto ban, striking a deal with an American company is clearly in the best interest of all parties. These actions today undermine that goal and make a deal less likely. The administration should reconsider its position and pursue policies that do not further fragment the global Internet.