WeChat downloads soared due to Trump’s failed ban

By Michael Grothaus

Want to increase our app’s download numbers? One way to do that is to get President Trump to threaten to ban your app. At least that’s what worked for WeChat over the weekend, which saw its Friday and Saturday download numbers soar by 517% week over week, according to data from app marketing research firm Sensor Tower.

WeChat, as well as TikTok, were both threatened by Trump with bans on downloading the apps in America due to alleged national security concerns. Those concerns revolved around the possibility that both apps could send data on U.S. users directly to the Chinese government. Neither ban, however, ended up taking place as TikTok reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart to be its trusted technology partner in the U.S., and, on Sunday, a U.S. judge temporarily blocked the WeChat ban from going into effect due to concerns it would violate WeChat users’ First Amendment rights.

Still, the threat of that ban saw WeChat downloads skyrocket in the U.S. On Saturday, when users feared the ban was 24 hours away from going into effect, Sensor Tower preliminary data showed WeChat had 27,000 installs—up 170% from a day earlier. That also was an 800% week-over-week climb. Combined downloads for Friday and Saturday totaled 37,000 installs—a 517% week-over-week increase.

In other words, while a Trump ban on your app could have potential long-term consequences, in the short term, it’s a great way to get a lot of free press and increase those download numbers into the triple-percentage digits.


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