WeChat Downloads Take Off Ahead of Ban

WeChat’s popularity reportedly soared Friday, with users racing to download the app before it is yanked from app marketplaces, The Hill reported.

The surge comes ahead of the Chinese app’s ban in the United States, set to go into effect Sunday.

The multimedia messaging platform went from number 1,385 at the start of the morning to within the top 100 apps by noon, a mobile insight strategist with SensorTower told The Hill.

WeChat usually ranked between the top 1,000 and 1,500 since the start of 2020; the Friday surge was the first time the app ranked in the top 500 this year.

The Commerce Department said Friday it will ban both Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores and will bar the apps from accessing essential internet services in the U.S. 

WeChat users have sued to stop the ban, and a federal judge in California on Friday set an emergency hearing for Saturday.

TikTok will not face the most drastic sanctions until after the Nov. 3 election, however.

The order, which cited national security and data privacy concerns, follows weeks of dealmaking over the video-sharing service TikTok. 

President Donald Trump has pressured the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a domestic company to satisfy U.S. concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.

TikTok is being given more time to address its security concerns due to pending deals with the tech company Oracle, which is trying to negotiate a purchase of the Beijing-based app.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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