Dec 5, 2020 - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration of a TikTok logo with a Made in China tag being cut off.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

What now: The source says that CFIUS is not providing another formal extension, but rather a de facto continuation as the two sides carry on with negotiations.

  • Talks had ground to a halt around the election, but have picked back up again in recent weeks, with some outstanding issues newly resolved.
  • The proposed plan, which President Trump agreed to in principle back in September, would be for TikTok to be controlled by a group of U.S. entities, including Oracle, Walmart and several venture capital firms, with ByteDance to retain a minority stake.

CFIUS still could ask the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce the order and take action against ByteDance, given that no formal extension has been provided.

  • Trump's executive order that TikTok be shut down in the U.S. — which is different than the CFIUS order — has been temporarily restrained by the courts.

What they're saying: "The Committee is engaging with ByteDance to complete the divestment and other steps necessary to resolve the national security risks arising from the transaction, consistent with the President's August 14 Order," a Treasury spokesperson said Friday evening, after this story originally published.

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