Today (November 12) was meant to be TikTok’s deadline to sell its US assets to an American company in order to resolve national security concerns, or face a ban from the market
At the time of writing, the app’s owner is still Beijing-based ByteDance, and TikTok is still available to download in the US.
Back in September, President Donald Trump approved a proposed deal with Walmart and Oracle that would potentially secure TikTok’s future in the US, but, as reported by Reuters this week, the ByteDance-owned company claims that it has received “no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework” since then.
TikTok and ByteDance filed a legal petition on Tuesday (November 10) in Washington asking for Trump’s order to be overturned, claiming in a statement that it has “actively engaged” with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) “in good faith” to address national security concerns over the app’s ties with its China-based parent company “even as we disagree with its assessment”.
Added TikTok: “In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework”.
Yesterday (November 11), Treasury Spokesperson Monica Crowley issued statement claiming that the Treasury Department has been “clear with ByteDance regarding the steps necessary to achieve that resolution”.
Said Crowley: “The Treasury Department remains focused on reaching a resolution of the national security risks arising from ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly, in accordance with the August 14 order signed by the President, and we have been clear with ByteDance regarding the steps necessary to achieve that resolution. We refer questions regarding the pending litigation to the Department of Justice.”
To recap: On August 14, Trump issued an order with a 90-day deadline stating that “ByteDance, its subsidiaries, affiliates, and Chinese shareholders, shall divest all interests and rights in any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance’s operation of the TikTok application in the United States”.
On September 18, the US Department of Commerce issued a statement announcing that, from Sunday September 20, new downloads of TikTok would be blocked on app stores in the US “to safeguard the national security of the United States”.
The download ban was then delayed by a week after Walmart and Oracle received tentative approval from the US Government to strike a deal with TikTok parent ByteDance.
The messaging about the deal became confusing after that, with Oracle and Walmart issuing a press release stating that “TikTok Global will be majority owned by American investors, including Oracle and Walmart”, while ByteDance insisted that it will retain control of TikTok in the US as part of the proposed deal with US companies.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, speaking to Fox news on September 21, said that “if we find that they don’t have total control then we’re not going to approve the deal”.
On September 27, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction against a ban on TikTok downloads from app stores in the US.
In the weeks since, TikTok has published its H1 Transparency report and announced a partnership with vulnerability disclosure and so called bug bounty platform HackerOne.
As reported by Variety, at the end of October a Federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to block the November 12 ban.
“Today, 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.”
Speaking to the Verge, TikTok said: “For a year, TikTok has actively engaged with CFIUS in good faith to address its national security concerns, even as we disagree with its assessment.
“In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework.
Added TikTok: “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.
“Today, 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.
“We remain committed to working with the Administration – as we have all along – to resolve the issues it has raised, but our legal challenge today is a protection to ensure these discussions can take place.”Music Business Worldwide
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