WeChat downloads surge ahead of US ban
WeChat’s popularity soared Friday ahead of the Chinese app’s ban in the U.S., with users scrambling to download the app before it is removed from app marketplaces.
The app 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.
Typically, WeChat ranked between the top 1,000 and 1,500 since the start of 2020, but Friday was the first time the app ranked in the top 500 this year.
WeChat is a multimedia messaging platform and is used for other purposes, such as mobile transactions.
The U.S. government on Friday moved to ban WeChat, owned by China’s Tencent, along with the popular Chinese-owned app TikTok, citing national security concerns.
The ban’s effect will be imposed Sunday and will prevent U.S. consumers from downloading the apps or installing updates.
The Department of Commerce said Friday that if TikTok’s national security concerns were resolved by Nov. 12, the restrictions could be lifted.
TikTok is being given more time to address its security concerns due to pending deals with the U.S. tech company Oracle, which is attempting to negotiate a purchase of the Beijing-based app.