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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Commerce Department issued Friday an order blocking new downloads of WeChat and TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 20.

The state of play: President Trump has been in a standoff with TikTok, threatening to ban the app if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, does not relinquish control to a U.S. company. A deal is in the works with the American tech company Oracle, but would need to go through before Sunday to prevent TikTok from being ousted from app stores.

  • WeChat is another Chinese-owned messenger app that's risen data privacy concerns stateside.
  • The order will not block companies from doing business with WeChat's owner, Tencent Holdings.
  • Apple and Google will still be allowed to offer the apps outside of the U.S.

Worth noting: The Commerce Department's order would allow TikTok to continue operating through at least Nov. 12 for those who already have it downloaded.

  • But, by blocking it from app stores, it would likely prevent any updates or security patches to the app after this weekend.

Between the lines, via Axios' Dan Primack: TikTok already has filed a lawsuit to block Trump's executive order banning the app, and could ask for an emergency injunction were the president not to accept the proposed transaction with Oracle and Walmart.

What they're saying: "While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories," Commerce's order reads.

  • "Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.  This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security."

The bottom line, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: The move adds a new threat to the final stage of negotiations between ByteDance, Oracle, the U.S. and China. It's either a sign that the Trump administration intends to block the deal, or a last effort to squeeze more concessions from the Chinese company.

Go deeper: How the Oracle-TikTok deal would work

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2020 - Technology

Tech's deepening split over ads and privacy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new fight between Facebook and Apple over the mechanics of ad tech is surfacing an industry divide over user privacy and spotlighting longstanding dilemmas about the tracking and use of personal information online.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates have been sounding alarms for years about tech firms' expansive, sometimes inescapable data harvesting without making much headway in the U.S. But the game could change if major industry players start taking opposite sides.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."