The Trump Administration Ghosts TikTok As they Await Their Fate

URL copied to clipboard.
Trump and TikTok
History in HD and Olivier Bergeron on Unsplash

It has been a whirlwind of a year for TikTok. After serious conversations regarding having it deleted under Donald Trump’s presidency, many users and influencers feared that the app would one day disappear. And after this year’s election results became official, the question remained of whether or not TikTok would be accessible in the future.

ByteDance officially filed a petition on Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals. In the petition, they ask for clarity from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, also known as the CFIUS. Originally, the sale deadline was set for Nov. 12. However, ByteDance claims that they have yet to receive any additional information following the injunction by a federal judge back in October of this year.

https://twitter.com/Maki_Irl/status/1326556611607982083

This deadline was set in order for TikTok to divest itself of “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.” 

In an official statement, ByteDance said: “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.”

According to the petition, it states that the divestment order is “based on the government’s purported national security review of a three-year-old transaction that involved a different business.” This “different business” is in reference to Musical.ly. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The Transition

A technology advisor who is a part of Biden’s team said that it is currently “too early” to discuss the future of TikTok in The United States. 

A representative from TikTok opened up to The Verge in a statement: “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.” 

The statement continued by stating that: “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.”

“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,” the statement explains. 

ADVERTISEMENT

And although many users were terrified of the potential TikTok ban when it was first talked about, it seems as though many are no longer thinking about it or worried. 

https://twitter.com/mathiastyner/status/1323988008723468294

In an article published by The Washington Post, James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said: “While it seems likely that the app would be removed from app stores, the U.S. government has no clear way to remove apps that have already been downloaded to phones. People who already have it should still be able to open the app, swipe through videos and even create their own.” 

As long as influencers and social media users have access to the app already, there may not be anything the government can do in regards to having it erased and wiped from mobile devices. 

https://twitter.com/a_castelllani/status/1326343354444091392

The Deal

However, this petition is particularly important because the state of employment for many in The United States is at stake. 

Due to Trump’s pressure, ByteDance decided to sell part of their U.S. business in a complex deal with Oracle and Walmart. Trump approved this sale in September. However, the Chinese government has yet to sanction this deal and as a result, everything has been at a standstill. 

https://twitter.com/SarahWatson42/status/1317912627658457088

There has been a strong lack of communication between Trump’s team and ByteDance. With this petition in full swing, it seems as though an agreement will be able to be reached soon. 

There are over 500 million TikTok users worldwide. TikTok is available in over 150 markets and in 39 languages to date. 

 

More headlines