The U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday that it will ban commercial transactions and block downloads from Chinese-owned social networks, TikTok and WeChat.
Starting this Sunday, September 20, U.S. authorities will block downloads and ban commercial transactions of TikTok and WeChat throughout the country.
The announcement came on the eve of a Friday in which U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to confirm whether or not the government will approve an agreement for Oracle to take a minority stake in TikTok and become a "trusted technology partner" for the company in that country.
Analysts are still unclear whether the Commerce Department's announcement closes the door to a possible agreement between Oracle and TikTok, or whether it is a move by President Trump to seek U.S. ownership of TikTok.
"Under the President's leadership, we have taken significant steps to combat China's malicious collection of personal data from U.S. citizens, while promoting our national values, rules-based democratic norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
The Commerce Department said U.S. companies would be prohibited from distributing WeChat and TikTok, which means that the two major mobile application stores run by Apple and Google would have to remove the applications from their libraries.