First it was 90 days, then an additional 15, and then the forced TikTok sale faded from national consciousness as the presidential election altered the priorities of the country and the Trump administration. Now the Biden administration appears to be hitting the brakes. In court filings, government lawyers filed an uncontested motion to postpone the cases related to a potential ban of the popular social media app.
The request also suggests status reports at 60-day intervals, and states the administration plans to conduct its own evaluation of the matter.
"The government will then be better positioned to determine whether the national security threat described in (President Trump's executive orders)...continue to warrant the identified prohibitions," the filing reads.
Joe Biden has previously raised concerns over how the Chinese government may access data that TikTok collects and discussions have reportedly continued between TikTok-owner ByteDance and U.S. security officials.
In an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" this past Sunday, Biden said China should expect "extreme competition" from the U.S., but that he will not necessarily pursue an adversarial relationship in the way that his predecessor did.
In August last year, President Trump issued a pair of executive orders that would forbid American companies from transacting with ByteDance-owned companies and force ByteDance to divest of its TikTok operations in the U.S. Microsoft, Oracle and Walmart emerged as potential new owners.
The Chinese government retaliated by issuing new rules banning exportation by Chinese companies of certain technologies, which would include TikTok's lauded "For You" algorithm. TikTok also sued the Trump administration.
In mid-September, Oracle confirmed it had been selected by ByteDance to become TikTok's "trusted technology provider," and then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the arrangement would bring 20,000 new jobs to the U.S.
A series of deadline extensions and waivers from U.S. government agencies and courts ensued and multiple federal judges ruled Trump's TikTok ban illegitimate.
On February 18, the U.S. government is due to issue its formal response to TikTok's court challenge against the ban.
In the absence of a ban, ByteDance could still sell TikTok, but anyone negotiating to acquire the company valued at approximately $180 billion, according to Bloomberg, would no longer have the same leverage.
Why is TikTok Facing a Ban? And What May Lie Ahead! www.youtube.com
This story has been updated.
- A TikTok Timeline: The Rise and Pause of a Social Video Giant - dot ... ›
- TikTok Won't Have to Sell For Now, Says Commerce Dept. - dot.LA ›
- Trump Gives TikTok and Oracle Deal His 'Blessing' - dot.LA ›
President Donald Trump told reporters he approved a deal in concept between Oracle and TikTok's parent company ByteDance in which Oracle and Walmart would partner with the app in the U.S. The move could avert the ban in U.S. app stores that was set to go into effect on Sunday.
"I have given the deal my blessing," Trump said to reporters at the White House Saturday. "If they get it done, that's great. If they don't, that's okay, too."
It is unclear whether ByteDance will remain a majority owner of TikTok.
"It will have nothing to do with China. It'll be totally secure; that'll be part of the deal," Trump said. "All of the control is Walmart and Oracle, two great American companies."
But Trump said the company, now seated in Culver City, will likely be headquartered in Texas and bring 25,000 jobs.
He added that TikTok has agreed to donate $5 billion to an education fund, which Trump said would satisfy his demand that the government receive a payment from the deal.
"They're going to be setting up a very large fund," Trump told reporters. "That's their contribution that I've been asking for."
Various outlets with reporters at the White House reported on Trump's sign off. It came after the president signed an executive order in August that called the viral social video app owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance a national security threat. It also called on the Beijing based parent company to sell TikTok to a U.S. firm or face a ban.
The administration accuses TikTok of sharing user data with the Chinese Communist government. TikTok denies the charges.
This week, the New York Times reported that TikTok is hunting for a new CEO and that Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom is being considered for the position.
- Trump and Microsoft Are Looking at TikTok - dot.LA ›
- How Trump's Order Could Impact The Fates of Snap, TikTok and ... ›
- TikTok Threatens Legal Action Over Trumps Executive Order - dot.LA ›
- TikTok Employee Patrick Ryan Sues Trump for Defamation - dot.LA ›
- TikTok Employee Asks Judge to Halt Ban on Popular Video App ... ›
- DOJ: TikTok Employees Will Get Paid Despite Trump's Order - dot.LA ›
- TikTok's Sale to Walmart Is Reportedly Off, For Now - dot.LA ›
See our timeline below for key developments TikTok's story over the last eight years, starting with the founding of ByteDance and moving through the app's rise to popularity and the mounting concerns about data privacy and security.
March 2012: Internet entrepreneur Zhang Yiming founds ByteDance in Beijing.
August 2012: ByteDance launches its first product, Toutiao, an AI-powered news aggregator.
July 2014: Alex Zhu launches Musical.ly, an app that enables users to create short-form lipsync music videos; Musical.ly is headquartered in Shanghai with an office in Santa Monica.
July 2015: Musical.ly hits #1 in Apple app store.
September 2016: ByteDance launches Douyin, an app with similar functionality as Musical.ly; within a year, the Chinese app achieves 100 million users and 1 billion views/ day.
September 2017: ByteDance brings Douyin outside of China's Great Firewall under the name of TikTok; the app does well in numerous Asian markets.
November 2017: ByteDance acquires Musical.ly for $1 billion; the company starts operating Musical.ly in the US, Douyin in China and TikTok in other markets.
August 2018: ByteDance merges Musical.ly with TikTok and migrates all user profiles to TikTok; Alex Zhu becomes TikTok senior vice president, saying, "Combining Musical.ly and TikTok is a natural fit given the shared mission of both experiences – to create a community where everyone can be a creator."
October 2018: ByteDance achieves a record $75 billion valuation, making it the world's biggest privately backed startup.
February 2019: Lil Nas X releases "Old Town Road" on TikTok, catalyzing a viral sensation that ultimately reaches #1 on Billboard's charts.
February 2019: TikTok is fined $5.7 million for child data privacy violations.
September 2019: Washington Post reports that TikTok may be censoring protests in Hong Kong.
September 2019: Leaked documents show TikTok instructs its moderators to censor videos that mention various subjects deemed offensive by the Chinese government and Commuist Party, The Guardian reports.
October 2019: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio calls on the U.S. government to investigate the national security implications of ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly, citing concerns over the Chinese government and Communist Party's use of TikTok to censor content and silence open discussion.
October 2019: U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton ask U.S. Acting Director of National Intelligence to assess the national security risks from TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps, and request a congressional briefing on the findings.
October 2019: Alex Zhu begins reporting directly to ByteDance head Zhang Yiming; he had previously reported to the head of Douyin.
November 2019: The U.S. government launches an investigation into ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly on the grounds that ByteDance did not seek clearance when it acquired Musical.ly.
TikTok reportedly has 26.5 million monthly active users in the U.S. at this time.
December 2019: The U.S. Defense Department's Defense Information Systems Agency issues a recommendation that military personnel delete TikTok from all smartphones.
Q4 2019: TikTok becomes the most downloaded app in the world and second in the U.S.
January 2020: Several U.S. military branches ban TikTok on government-issued smartphones.
March 2020: U.S. officials reach out to TikTok to discuss political disinformation.
April 2020: TikTok surpasses 2 billion downloads and sets the record for quarterly downloads.
May 2020: Various child privacy groups file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that TikTok is violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and flouting terms agreed to following its February 2019 settlement.
A TikTok spokesperson says the company "takes the issue of safety seriously for all our users, and we continue to further strengthen our safeguards and introduce new measures to protect young people on the app."
May 2020: ByteDance hires former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as chief operating officer and TikTok chief executive officer.
June 2020: Teens organize on TikTok to fool Trump administration into anticipating high attendance for the President's Tulsa, Oklahoma campaign rally.
June 2020: India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, citing national security and data privacy concerns; the move comes amid ongoing skirmishes between the two countries on the China-India border.
July 2020: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison launches an investigation into TikTok surrounding data concerns.
July 2020: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirms the U.S. is looking into banning TikTok over concerns the app is sharing data with China; the next day, President Trump says he is considering a ban, framing it as a potential retaliation tactic against China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aug. 2, 2020: Microsoft issues a blog post citing a conversation between chief executive Satya Nadella and President Trump around the company's potential acquisition of TikTok.
Aug. 4, 2020: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrisson says there is not sufficient evidence to suggest a TikTok ban is necessary.
Aug. 6, 2020: President Trump issues an executive order banning American companies from transacting with ByteDance or its subsidiaries, namely TikTok; the U.S. Secretary of Commerce is to identify specific prohibited "transactions" 45 days after the order is issued.
Aug. 14, 2020: Trump issues another executive order demanding ByteDance "divest all interests and rights" in its assets and property that enable TikTok's U.S. operations, and data collected via TikTok in the U.S., within 90 days. The order says the U.S. investigation into ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly presented "credible evidence" that ByteDance "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."
Aug. 17, 2020: Oracle enters the discussion as a reported TikTok suitor.
Aug. 18, 2020: President Trump says he would support Oracle buying TikTok. Oracle's cofounder and CTO Larry Ellison had previously said he supports Trump and had fundraised for him in February 2020.
Aug. 24, 2020: TikTok announces it is suing the Trump administration over the ban for failure to protect due process. Separately, a U.S.-based TikTok employee also sues the administration, stating, "I am a patriot"
Aug. 26, 2020: Kevin Mayer steps down from ByteDance and TikTok, citing a diminished role in a letter to colleagues. Rumors swirl that he was left out of ByteDance's negotiations with potential acquirers
Aug. 27, 2020: Walmart issues a statement that it is interested in partnering with Microsoft to acquire TikTok.
Aug. 28, 2020: L.A.-based Triller, a TikTok upstart competitor, is reported to have issued a bid for TikTok along with investment firm Centricus.
Aug. 29, 2020: The Chinese government issues new export rules that complicate the exportation of TikTok's underlying technology – namely its "For You" algorithm – to any foreign buyer.
Aug. 31, 2020: CNBC reports TikTok has chosen a buyer, with an expected sale price of $20 billion - $30 billion.
Sept. 3, 2020: With uncertainty over whether a buyer will be able to acquire TikTok's algorithm, and debate mounting over how that affects the value of the company, numerous outlets negotiations are likely to slow as the Chinese government increases its involvement.
Sept. 13, 2020: Microsoft says in a blog post that "ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft." The company says it would have made "significant changes" to ensure security, privacy, online safety and combatting disinformation.
Sept. 14, 2020: Oracle confirms that it has been selected by ByteDance to become a "trusted technology provider" with TikTok. The company says the proposal was submitted by ByteDance to the Treasury Department over the weekend. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says on CNBC that the proposal includes making TikTok-global a U.S. headquartered company with 20,000 new jobs.
Mnuchin adds that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing the proposal this week for national security implications, and will make a recommendation to the president, who will then review the proposal.
- TikTok, Influencer Panic and the Celebrity Economy - dot.LA ›
- TikTok, Influencer Panic and the Celebrity Economy - dot.LA ›
- TikTok Gets Rights to Universal Music Group's Catalog - dot.LA ›
- Biden Ends Ban on TikTok, WeChat - dot.LA ›