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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration gave TikTok’s Chinese owner more time to reach a deal to sell the app, after demanding that it divest its interest in the social media service over national security concerns.
President Trump had signed an executive order in August requiring that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, sell any assets that allowed it to operate the app in the United States by Thursday. That deadline was extended 15 days until Nov. 27, according to a document that TikTok filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday.
The extension keeps a deal in limbo that was aimed at preventing the U.S. government from banning the popular video app. ByteDance has offered to sell stakes in TikTok to the American cloud computing firm Oracle and the retail giant Walmart. Under the deal, Oracle would supervise TikTok’s data to mitigate concerns that the app could feed customer information about Americans to the Chinese government.
The Trump administration has put pressure on TikTok, where people share lip syncing and other videos, as part of its campaign against China’s influence in the global technology industry. American officials have limited the use of Chinese equipment in 5G wireless networks, taken issue with United States companies backing undersea internet cables into mainland China and are increasingly targeting consumer apps like TikTok and WeChat, a messaging app owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent.
U.S. officials have said that TikTok’s Chinese ownership means the app could send data back to Beijing, under local laws that require Chinese companies to cooperate with government requests. TikTok has denied that its app poses any security threat to Americans, noting that many of its investors are American and that its customer data is not stored in China.
TikTok declined to comment on the extension. The Treasury Department, which is playing a central role in vetting the proposed deal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since President Trump’s executive order in August, the administration’s efforts to clamp down on TikTok have met legal resistance.
Under a separate executive order, the Commerce Department released rules in September to force app stores run by Apple and Google to stop hosting TikTok and WeChat. Federal judges have blocked them for now.
TikTok also asked a federal court this week to block the order demanding that ByteDance sell its interest in the app. While President Trump signaled in September that he approved the broad strokes of the deal involving TikTok, Oracle and Walmart, it still needs to be considered by a federal committee that vets foreign investment in the United States.
“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,” a TikTok spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.
Oracle and Walmart declined to comment.
The Treasury Department has said little about where negotiations stand. Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement this week that it had “been clear with ByteDance regarding the steps necessary” to resolve the situation.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: Trump Administration Gives TikTok More Time to Reach Deal