TikTok says negotiations with Trump administration are at a standstill

Photo credit: Feyissa - Wikimedia Commons

The short-form video app says it hasn’t heard from regulators in weeks

China-owned social media platform TikTok claims that the Trump administration has gone silent over the past few weeks. 

Over the past several months, the two parties have clashed over privacy and national security-related matters. The Trump administration has expressed concern that the app poses a threat to national security, but TikTok has vehemently denied that it’s sharing data with the Chinese government. 

Trump’s committee on foreign investment in the United States (CFIUS) ordered TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to divest “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” by tomorrow, November 12. 

TikTok has petitioned CFIUS for a review of the situation, partly because the committee didn’t specify what would happen if the company didn’t meet the demands by that deadline. The short-form video app was granted a preliminary injunction last month. 

Facing uncertainty 

TikTok planned to partner with Oracle and Walmart in the U.S. to form a new company called “TikTok Global.” In September, the Trump administration said the president approved the deal “in concept.” Now, TikTok says negotiations seem to have stalled. 

“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,” TikTok told various media outlets. “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.”

TikTok officials said they currently have “no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted.” 

“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 company said in a statement. 

An advisor to President-elect Joe Biden said “it’s too early” to know what, if any, actions the Biden administration plans to take regarding TikTok.

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