Bobby Allyn

Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is banning Americans from downloading popular video-sharing app TikTok and limiting the use of WeChat because of national security concerns, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

As of midnight on Sunday, TikTok will also not be able to receive system updates, which could affect its functionality, including slowing down the app, but the app's current version will still work for American users. Over time, however, TikTok may stop working altogether.

Unlimited vacation. Submitting expenses without approval. Being promoted for criticizing your company.
These are the perks of working for Netflix, says CEO Reed Hastings.
HASTINGS: It's risky trusting employees as much as we do. Giving them as much freedom as we do. But it's essential in creative companies where you have much greater risk from lack of innovation.
In his new book, "No Rules Rules," Hastings discusses his guiding principle: The Keeper Test.

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Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that they had removed accounts linked to Russian state actors who tried to spread false stories about racial justice, the Democratic presidential campaign of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and President Trump's policies.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer is stepping down three months after taking the job at the hugely popular short-form video app.

Mayer's surprise resignation comes as the Trump administration escalates its campaign to force TikTok to cut ties with its Chinese ownership.

In a message sent on Wednesday to staff at TikTok, Mayer said as the political environment has "sharply changed," he has reflected on what kind of corporate restructuring may be coming for the company, concluding that it was best for him to depart.

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

A California judge has ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify their workers from independent contractors to employees with benefits, a ruling that could be consequential for gig economy workers if it survives the appeals process.

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A technology policy nonprofit organization on Tuesday sued President Trump over his executive order attempting to strip away a legal protection long enjoyed by social media platforms.

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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The short-term rental company Airbnb is in trouble. The pandemic has nearly stopped travel and made staying in a stranger's home less appealing. So what now? NPR's Bobby Allyn has been talking with the company's CEO.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: His name is Brian Chesky. These days, he's holed up in his San Francisco home all by himself, and he told me over Zoom he's been making lots of chocolate chip cookies.

Bill Hinshaw's phone has been ringing off the hook lately.

From his home in Gainesville, Texas, which Hinshaw describes as "horse country," he runs a group called the COBOL Cowboys. It's an association of programmers who specialize in the Eisenhower-era computer language. Now their skills are in demand, thanks to the record number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

Updated Thursday at 3 a.m. ET

In describing steps the military is taking to confront the coronavirus pandemic within its ranks, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that some are calling for the U.S. military to cease operations.

"There seems to be this narrative out there that we should just shut down the entire United States military and address the problem that way. That's not feasible," said Esper during the White House's coronavirus task force briefing.

During Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is "a great governor" who "knows exactly what he's doing" in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence added to the DeSantis accolades, saying the Republican governor has "been taking decisive steps from early on."

But according to public health experts, thousands of heath care workers and a pending lawsuit, DeSantis' leadership has been woefully inadequate.

The nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force says the pandemic could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said based on modeling of the current pace of the coronavirus' spread in the U.S., "between 100,000 and 200,000" people may die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month and could last until June.

Under the recommendations, the Trump administration is imploring people to avoid restaurants, bars and other situations involving more than 10 people and restrict traveling to trips deemed essential.

Feeling the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Rifle Association is planning to lay off staff and taking other cost-cutting measures in the face of "extraordinary challenges" from COVID-19, Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, announced to the group's board of directors on Monday.

The belt-tightening in response to the virus outbreak includes "the elimination of certain positions" and forcing hourly employees to work just four days a week, in addition to 20% reductions in pay for NRA staffers.

Those eager to retreat into the wilderness amid the coronavirus pandemic were delivered disappointing news on Tuesday: three major national parks are now closed to visitors.

Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Great Smoky Mountains have shut their gates to the public.

Park officials said a crush of visitors moving through the trails was beginning to run afoul of social distancing.

About 30,000 people visited each day last week, a sharp increase from the same time last year, officials said.

Gun shops are not essential businesses and need to close immediately, the sheriff of Los Angeles said on Tuesday.

The type of announcement has angered gun rights activists, who have promised a challenge.

Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

Workers in at least eight Amazon warehouses across the country have tested positive for the coronavirus, just as the e-commerce giant ramps up hiring to meet surging online sales.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

In a wide-ranging, digressive news conference Sunday evening, President Trump said he has activated the National Guard to assist New York, California and Washington, states that so far have been hit hardest by the coronavirus.

The gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit will not happen in-person this year as scheduled for Camp David in June, and will instead be a video conference, the White House said Thursday.

It is the latest high-profile event to be cancelled as anxiety over the fast-spreading coronavirus nixes political gatherings, sports events and musical festivals around the world.

Updated 8:00 a.m. ET Thursday

Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams each said Wednesday evening that they have tested positive for COVID-19. They are the first two members of Congress to announce positive tests for the novel coronavirus.

They both said they experienced symptoms and have been self-quarantining.

Diaz-Balart, 58, and McAdams, 45, both voted on the House floor as recently as early Saturday morning, when lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief package.

President Trump said Wednesday he will nominate his acting budget director, Russ Vought, to be the permanent director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Vought has been serving as OMB's acting director since January 2019, when Mick Mulvaney departed to step in as Trump's acting chief of staff, a role that has since ended, with Mulvaney now serving as U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered the border with Canada partly closed on Wednesday and the Pentagon said it would join the coronavirus pandemic response with hospital ships, field treatment centers and medical supplies.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has proposed sending money directly to Americans to help blunt the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, saying it's time to "go big" to boost the now-stalled economy.

Trump said he wants Congress to push through a major comprehensive package to help businesses and workers facing hardships — one of many abrupt shifts the administration has made this week as the scope of the pandemic has come into sharp focus.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET Sunday

Airline passengers returning to the U.S. were confronted with snaking lines causing hours-long delays and confusion at airports around the country starting Saturday as a result of required medical screenings now in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated at 12:34 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores."

The restrictions, he said late Wednesday, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Updated at 7:44 p.m. ET

One of the nation's leading infectious disease experts issued a stern warning on Tuesday: If you think you have escaped the spread of the coronavirus, do not become complacent.

"As a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health. "It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now."

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