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U.S. Government Says TikTok Can Stay … for Now

Intelligencer logo Intelligencer 11/13/2020 Zoe Haylock
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The United States Commerce Department won’t be enforcing its order to shutdown the Chinese app TikTok, at least not yet. The deadline for “national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved,” as prescribed in the Commerce Department’s September order, was Thursday, November 12. But, per the Wall Street Journal, they’re now delaying the implementation of the ban, which would make it illegal for companies to enable “the functioning or optimization” of the app, effectively rendering it impossible to use in the United States. (TikTok denies allegations that it is sharing information with the Chinese government.) The delay comes not just because the Trump administration is busy trying to force a second term, but also “pending further legal developments.” Specifically, the Department cited a preliminary injunction against the shutdown last month in Philadelphia. In a suit brought by TikTokers Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alex Chambers, a judge decided the government action “presents a threat to the ‘robust exchange of informational materials,’” and likely exceeds the government’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the order Trump used to take action against TikTok, WeChat, and more.

TikTok isn’t going down without a fight. After the initial executive order for TikTok to be sold to an American company, the app instead partnered with California-based Oracle. TikTok filed a lawsuit against the administration in August and this week, asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to overturn the order by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. forcing ByteDance to divest from the company. The filing claims ByteDance recently submitted a fourth proposal for addressing U.S. security concerns that would see TikTok owned by Oracle, Walmart, and existing U.S. investors in ByteDance. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal Thursday, a TikTok spokeswoman said the company was “focused on continuing to engage CFIUS” to address security concerns “even as we disagree with them.”



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