WeChat Has Been Officially Banned in the US — Here Are the Best Alternative Apps
The Trump administration has officially banned the Chinese-owned messaging and mobile payment app WeChat from US app stores starting this Sunday, Sept. 20, leaving many people who regularly use the app wondering what to do. The app is not just used for messaging services and payments, but also for calls and even as a social media platform. To essentially make WeChat useless to US users, the government will also ban American companies from processing WeChat transactions or hosting its internet traffic.
TikTok is also set to be banned, with similar restrictions going into effect on Nov. 12 unless the company can ease the administration's concerns of its threat to national security. However, American software company Oracle is reportedly in talks to strike a deal with TikTok owner ByteDance, which may save it from a total ban. It's safe to say we're pretty obsessed with TikTok, which we use for everything from book recommendations to recipes ideas, so we'll have our fingers crossed for that one until November.
Both of these reports follow Trump's Aug. 6 executive order in which he made the case that TikTok and WeChat collect American users' data to be accessed by the Chinese government. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, this was a move taken "at the President's direction" following how "the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S."
Although WeChat's ban has been expected ever since Aug. 6, many of us may now find ourselves scrambling to replace the app with something similar. Thankfully, there are apps on the market that essentially do the same things as WeChat! Keep reading for our top picks.
WhatsApp is a messaging and calling app that's very similar to WeChat, allowing users to send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, locations, and more. Just like WeChat, it also has some social media-like features, such as allowing users to post stories, as well as create status updates and upload new profile pictures.
Viber is another messaging and calling app that allows you to get in contact with family and friends anytime and anywhere over WiFi. It also offers voice and video calls, transfers of photos and documents, text and voice messages, and group chats. Some key differences? Viber offers games for users to play with each other, as well as the creation of communities and secret chats.
The fastest growing messaging app in the world, LINE, allows for free messaging, voice calls, and video calls wherever you are with signal or WiFi. LINE's limitless variety of stickers really sets the app apart, allowing users to express themselves in fun ways.
Kik is great if you would prefer to not use your phone number. With just a username sign-up, you can connect with friends and family and create both one-on-one chats and group chats. Allowing for sharing of photos, videos, and games, this app is also great for anyone looking to meet new friends with similar interests.
A cloud-based instant messaging service, Telegram allows for instant messaging and video calls with end-to-end encryption for totally secret chats. This app is more "bare bones" than the others, but still allows you to keep in contact easily and simply with friends and family, and most importantly, your data is never disclosed.