The United States on Friday ordered a ban on downloads of popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and use of the messaging and payment platform WeChat, saying they threaten national security, AFP reports.

The move, to be implemented Sunday night, comes amid rising US-China tensions and efforts by the Trump administration to engineer a sale of TikTok to American investors.

"The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.

While WeChat will effectively be shut down in the US from Sunday night, existing TikTok users will be able to continue using the app until November 12 -- when it would also face a full ban on its US operations.

TikTok's brand of brief, quirky phone videos has become hugely popular, especially among young people, with 100 million users in the US alone and its use has further soared among teens stuck at home through the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday night, Ross told Fox News, TikTok users will not have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps, or maintenance.

"So if that were to continue over a long period of time there might be a gradual degradation of services. But the basic TikTok will stay intact until November 12th," he added.

"If there's not a deal by November 12th under the provisions of the old order, then TikTok... would be, for all practical purposes, shut down," Ross added.

The Commerce Department said if concerns over TikTok were resolved before then, the order may be lifted.

US President Donald Trump last month signed an executive order giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, saying Chinese tech operations may be used for spying.

The company later announced it will challenge the crackdown on the service in court.

American tech giant Microsoft had made a bid to buy TikTok but said this past Sunday that its offer was rejected.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that ByteDance has picked a consortium led by Oracle Corp. for a deal for the US operations of TikTok.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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