Trump’s Executive Order To Ban TikTok, WeChat Won’t Affect Video Games
The order would ban American transactions with Tencent, but it's been clarified that it won't affect the video game companies it owns or has a stake in.
On Thursday night, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive order to ban American “transactions” with Chinese tech companies ByteDance, owners of the video-sharing platform TikTok, and Tencent, owners of the messaging app WeChat, with the latter sending a brief wave of panic through the gaming community.
Tencent owns or holds a stake in a number of game companies — Riot, Epic, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Bluehole are just a few of the names in the holding company’s portfolio — so news of a ban caused concern that a major chunk of the video game industry could be in trouble.
However, Los Angeles Times tech reporter Sam Dean tweeted that won’t be the case, verifying with a White House official that the executive order only applies to transactions related to WeChat.
This was pretty much impossible to tell from the EO itself—I also had a 😲 moment that they were roping in Riot et al when I first read it—but “we just mean WeChat” is the WH line for tonight.
But banning all transactions on/with WeChat alone is still WILD.
— Sam Dean 🦅 (@SamAugustDean) August 7, 2020
The orders will take effect in 45 days (Sept. 20), and come after weeks of Trump’s administration publicly threatening to ban TikTok over privacy and national security concerns.
Both orders are likely to be challenged in court.
Microsoft has also been in talks to buy TikTok, but to what extent (be it just U.S. operations or the platform as a whole) is unclear.