WeChat’s ban was put on hold when a group of the app’s users who had launched a legal challenge to the order won a temporary suspension of it.
However, both bans remain a possibility. China must also approve ByteDance’s Oracle deal, and may be less receptive to it than the Trump administration, while the WeChat order could return if the legal challenge is ultimately struck down.
In that scenario, the American internet would start to look a bit more like the Chinese one. If TikTok were banned from app stores, its American users, who number more than 100 million, would not notice an immediate difference, since they already have the app installed.
But since they would not have access to the updates that provide security fixes, performance upgrades and new features, the app would gradually fall apart, even before the November 12 deadline for internet providers to block it.
This would not be the end for TikTok, but users would have to adopt a similar set of subterfuge tactics to the Chinese denizens who wish to use Facebook. Over the weekend, social media, including TikTok itself, was awash with posts on how to use virtual networks and to switch countries on download stores.
If the ban goes through, expect the number of Apple accounts registered in Canada to exceed the number of Canadians, as Americans digitally cross the border to a region where the app is still available. The app’s incredible pull will make these inconveniences worth it to a portion of its established base.