The debate has been going on for months, and TikTok and WeChat users in the United States are getting nervous. Will TikTok and WeChat end up being banned in the United States by the end of September 2020, or will the TikTok owners ByteDance be able to make a deal with an American company (Walmart/Oracle) and hand over the control for running the operations in the United States before that time? If they don’t succeed, what will happen then? Will you be unable to use TikTok and WeChat in the United States?
You might consider banning certain services in a country to be unacceptable. But, if the United States and President Donald Trump decides to ban WeChat and TikTok, he is simply moving in the footsteps of many other countries using the same methods and strategies. Earlier in 2020, India decided to ban TikTok. Popular social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are banned in China and several other countries, and it has frequently been seen that Twitter, WhatsApp, and other communication tools have been (temporarily) banned during riots and other politics events in countries worldwide.
To understand what is going on in the United States now, the best might be to take a closer look at Huawei. This is another Chinese company that was banned in the United States. The main accusation against Huawei was that the company used their smart devices to spy on people in the United States (and elsewhere) and later gave this information to Chinese authorities. The ban itself means that Huawei is on a so-called Entity list, a list of companies that businesses in the United States are unable to work with. What is the result? American companies such as Google cannot work with Huawei, which again means that Huawei phones no longer can be delivered with the Google applications pre-installed.
Why does Donald Trump want to ban TikTok?
The US Government is worrying that TikTok is spying on its users and handing over information to the Chinese government, just like they did with Huawei. They also worry about how TikTok is censoring the content, meaning that it is giving bigger attention to videos and content that they appreciate, while they “hide” content not appealing to their administration. This is a serious problem for Donald Trump who strongly dislike the thought of political censorship on a platform used by more than 15,000,000 Americans.
Why does Donald Trump want to ban WeChat?
While the accusations against TikTok seem to be clear, it is more shady why the US administration wants to ban WeChat. The latter is known as Weixin in China, and it is the most popular platform for messaging. It is especially important in China, due to apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Telegram being banned. Currently, WeChat has more than 1 billion users worldwide, and even though it is unknown how many people use the application in the United States, it will for sure cause frustration for millions of users in the United States if a ban should take place.
What will happen if WeChat and TikTok are banned in the USA?
The first deadline for finding an American owner for TikTok was set to September 20th. However, no settlement was made, and the deadline was set to September 27th instead. If ByteDance can make a deal with Oracle and/or Walmart before then, the applications can still be used and most end-users will not experience much of a difference. But, if no agreement will be made, then a ban will take place. What will happen? What will you experience?
The applications will be removed from Apple Store and Google Play Store
This is a major difference. You you live in the UK today and search for CBS All Access on your iOS or Android device, you will not be able to find the application. That is because the application is only available to US users. If you live in the USA and search for BBC iPlayer, you will not find a thing. But, if you live in the UK, you will! Both Apple Store and Google Play Store has easy ways to censor content. As a result, it is easy to make apps available on one country, while it remains unavailable in other countries.
If WeChat and TikTok are banned in the USA, they will be censored from the application stores, and you will be unable to find it. This will stop new users from downloading these applications in the United States. There are ways in which you can trick the system and still download applications blocked in countries, but it will still require some extra knowledge and skills, which will lead to a decrease in new users rapidly.
How to download apps from Apple Store and Google Play Store blocked in a country?
This works differently for the two platforms.
If you have an Android device with a Google Play account, then you can do it in two different ways.
- The easiest (but no so safe) option is to go to apkpure.com, search for the app you are interested in, download it, and then install it manually. It is a safe thing to do (normally), but since it doesn’t come from an official source, you have no guarantee that the application is clean and that it will come without spyware, malware, and other shady extras.
- The second option is to use a VPN and then to create a brand new Google account registered in a different country (while you are connected to a VPN server in that country). Often, you will be required to add an extra payment method to “finalize” the registration of the Google account in a different country, but it isn’t always necessary. When you use this brand new account, you will be able to see the content of Google Play Store in that country.
If you have an iOS device, this is what you need to do!
iOS devices are safer than Android devices, because you are only allowed to install apps from official sources. And to get an application accepted by Apple Store is a time demanding and detailed process. As a result, there are fewer viruses and other threats coming against iOS users. As a result, you cannot simply “download” the program and install it manually on your Android device. In other words, one option remains if you want to download WeChat and TikTok to your iOS device if it cannot be found in your local application store.
- Use a VPN and connect to a server in some other country. Then you search the net and find the page where you can create a new Apple ID. Go ahead with the process, and register your brand new Apple account in the country to which the VPN is connected. Register your account with a local address in that country (just find a hotel at booking.com in that country and use that address). When you have finished the registration process, use your brand new Apple ID as your “App Store ID.” You will now see the applications available to Apple users in that given country. Do not forget to use your VPN during this process as well!
Communicating with the WeChat and TikTok servers will be banned
What will happen to those who already have the applications installed? They will not suffer, considering that they already have the applications installed. Well, most likely, a “filter” will be made and be applied in the United States, making sure that all traffic routed towards the WeChat and the TikTok servers will be banned. So, just like a Chinese looking for Google.com will be given an empty page (or nothing at all), the same will happen when an American will try to visit the TikTok or the WeChat website, and if they try to open the applications, it will just keep running without being able to receive any data from the servers.
How to explain this even more easily? Imagine that you are having an exam at school, and that you are sitting together with 15 others in a classroom. You stand up and tell your teacher that you want to leave the room to chat with your friends and get some answers. The answer is no. The door is closed. But, when you say that you only need to pee, the door will be opened so that you can go to the toilet.
In other words, traffic towards WeChat and TikTok will be hindered, while other activities can proceed like before.
How to bypass an eventual WeChat and TikTok ban?
At the time writing this article, there is not yet a ban on WeChat and TikTok. But, if it will arrive, many people will look for ways to remain active and to keep on using these applications in the United States. How can it be done?
Get a hold of the applications!
The first you need is the actual applications. If you already have them, proceed to the next step. If you need to install WeChat and/or TikTok in the United States, follow the instructions given earlier in the article.
Use a VPN and change your virtual location
If the communication with the WeChat and TikTok servers is hindered, then you need a VPN that will encrypt your online activity. When you use a VPN, your ISP and others will not be able to see which sites and servers you communicate with. And if they don’t see where you are going, they will not be able to stop you from going. It is entirely legal to use a VPN, and it is a very popular service among people working from home as they want to remain secure and safe, without compromising their data as they work online.
If TikTok and WeChat will be banned, then you should use a VPN and connect to a server in a country in which the usage of the applications is allowed. You can connect to any server in Europe, and you will be able to communicate without censorship to the Chinese TikTok and the WeChat servers.
Which VPN to use for this purpose?
There are hundreds of VPN providers available, and many of them have a good reputation online. The pricing level will vary quite a lot, and it isn’t necessarily the most expensive that ends up being the best. However, you should avoid shady VPN services and those with a bad reputation, or those coming without a solid full-refund policy. If you find it important to remain completely anonymous, using a VPN that accepts payments with cryptocurrencies can be really useful.
Three VPNs that I can warmly recommend are:
This is a quite new VPN (registered in 2018). It has servers in more than 60 countries, and it has taken the Internet with storm. They have some of the best prices on the market, and besides encrypting your online activities and coming with cool extra features such as their Surfshark Alert (alerting you if your email address has been included in data breaches) and their CleanWeb tool (protecting you from malware/spyware infected sites while blocking ads), it also helps you unblock Netflix content in more than 10 countries. To learn more about SurfsharkVPN, check the following 2-minute intro to SurfsharkVPN on YouTube.
SurfsharkVPN has a 30-day full refund policy. And, if you click the button above you will get 12 extra months for free if you purchase their 12-months plan! You can pay for SurfsharkVPN with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
HideMyAss is a VPN registered in the UK. The fact that it is registered in Europe makes you feel safe, after all, it is more tangible. It is owned by Avast, a company known for their antivirus programs, once again giving the impression that this is a really safe and good company. HideMyAss is the biggest VPN in the world, with servers in more countries than any other provider. They have blazing speeds, and it is also able to help you unblock Netflix and other streaming services.
HideMyAss also has a full refund policy, and the applications are really nice looking. Most people also appreciate the presence of the cool donkey within the applications (you will understand what I mean if you give it a try)
NordVPN is the most popular VPN in the world and the one most people search for on Google. It has very good speeds, servers in 55 countries, and it is good for unblocking. NordVPN also includes their tool CyberSec, which is quite similar to the CleanWeb tool from SurfsharkVPN. NordVPN has been around for a long time, and the company is registered in Panama. This is ideal for those who find privacy to be of importance, as Panama will not hand over data to other countries. If you want to know more about NordVPN, check the following clip.
NordVPN also has a 30-day refund policy, and if you want to remain anonymous, you can pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptocurrencies.
We don’t know yet if TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the United States or not. But, if the applications and services will be banned, we hope the information here will be useful.
If you have any comments about the topic, or if you need some help or advice, please use the comment field!