Commerce Department will NOT shut down TikTok today after court halted Trump’s order – as company says it still doesn’t know if its plan to give Oracle and Walmart oversight has been approved by the administration
- Commerce Department on Thursday confirmed its enforcement is on hold
- Federal court had previously enjoined the government from shuttering TikTok
- TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, had until Thursday to sell off US operations
- Trump tentatively blessed a plan to give Oracle and Walmart oversight
- But company says it has ‘no clarity’ about whether its proposal is accepted
- Court has already halted enforcement of the government’s shutdown option
- Now TikTok seeks to have the legal basis for the divestiture tossed out
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The Commerce Department has confirmed that it will not enforce an order that effectively would have shut down video-sharing app TikTok on Thursday, following a federal judge’s ruling.
The move delays implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order that would have barred U.S. companies such as Apple from offering the app on their devices.
It follows a federal judge’s ruling in Philadelphia that halted enforcement of the shutdown option, taking away the government’s main weapon in forcing a divestiture on national security grounds.
TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, had been given until Thursday to sell off its U.S. operations under an executive order that Trump signed in August.
The popular video-sharing app TikTok, its future in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to shut it down earlier this fall, is asking a federal court to intervene
Trump in September gave his tentative blessing to a ByteDance proposal meant to resolve U.S. national security concerns by placing TikTok under the oversight of American companies Oracle and Walmart, each of which would also have a financial stake in the company.
But TikTok said this week it’s received ‘no clarity’ from the U.S. government about whether its proposals have been accepted.
A federal judge has already halted enforcement of the shutdown option, taking away the government’s main weapon in forcing a divestiture.
TikTok’s new suit seeks to overturn the government’s legal basis for ordering the divestiture as well, widening the company’s counterattack.
The deal has been under a national-security review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which is led by the Treasury Department.
The department ‘remains focused’ on resolving the alleged national security risks posed by TikTok, a Treasury spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday evening.
Trump (seen this month) in September gave his tentative ‘blessing’ to a ByteDance proposal meant to resolve U.S. national security concerns
‘The Treasury Department remains focused on reaching a resolution of the national security risks arising from ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly,’ Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley said. ‘We have been clear with ByteDance regarding the steps necessary to achieve that resolution.’
‘With the November 12 CFIUS deadline imminent and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US,’ TikTok said in a written statement Tuesday.
Trump has cited concerns that the Chinese government could spy on TikTok users if the app remains under Chinese ownership. TikTok has denied it’s a security threat but said it’s still trying to work with the administration to resolve its concerns.
The legal challenge is ‘a protection to ensure these discussions can take place,’ the company said.
The Trump administration had earlier sought to ban the app from smartphone app stores and deprive it of vital technical services, but federal judges have so far blocked those actions.
TikTok is now looking to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump’s divestment order and the government’s national-security review.
The Trump administration claims that TikTok poses national security concerns as the personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government.
TikTok, which has over 100 million U.S. users, denies the allegations.
‘Facing continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted, we requested the 30-day extension that is expressly permitted in the August 14 order,’ the company said in a statement.
With the deadline looming ‘and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights,’ the company said.
TikTok has said it is still interested in pursuing a technology deal with Oracle.
Nevertheless, there hasn’t been any meaningful dialogue with the Trump administration’s committee on foreign investment in the United States (CFIUS) for weeks, according to CNBC.
A tech advisor to President-elect Joe Biden says ‘it’s too early’ to know what the Biden administration’s TikTok policy might be when they take over the White House in January.