The United States Department of Commerce no longer plans to enforce the shutting down of TikTok in the country. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had set a November 12 deadline for the ByteDance-owned service to sell off its US operations or face a nationwide ban.
However, the deadline has already crossed, and the Commerce Department doesn’t plan to go ahead with the original decision, The Wall Street Journal reports. This comes after a federal court ruling earlier this month blocked a transaction ban on TikTok that could have effectively led to the shutting down of the service in the US. And it appears the Trump administration isn’t willing to challenge that ruling.
The Commerce Department also wanted a ban on new downloads of TikTok from the Play Store and Apple’s App Store. However, a court order has blocked that as well.
That said, the hugely popular short-form video-sharing app still isn’t completely free of troubles. A separate report by Reuters claims that ByteDance has been given a 15-day extension to divest TikTok’s US operations to an American company in a manner “that complies with the Order”. President Donald Trump had signed executive orders in August requiring ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.
The American government claims that TikTok poses a threat to national security. The company may allow the Chinese counterparts access to data on the app’s US users. TikTok has always denied these allegations.
TikTok lives to see another day in the US, but troubles aren’t ending yet
In September, ByteDance announced a deal with Oracle and Walmart to form a new entity called TikTok Global. The plan was to shift TikTok’s US assets into this entity, which would operate completely from within the American soil. However, the Trump administration never formally approved of this arrangement, although there were some signs of support.
ByteDance reportedly submitted a fourth proposal recently in hopes of satisfying the American government’s concerns. The basic arrangement is pretty much the same old story. The company would create “a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing US investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.”
TikTok last week said that it hasn’t received any feedback from the US government in the two months since it announced the deal with Oracle and Walmart. Perhaps that’s because of the US presidential election falling in between. The outgoing President Donald Trump has been leading this crackdown on Chinese apps. It’s unclear how the new President-elect Joe Biden will address the situation.