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US Allows Deadline On TikTok Deal To Lapse, Talks To Continue

US Allows Deadline On TikTok Deal To Lapse, Talks To Continue

TikTok's future remains murky as the U.S. heads into a new presidential administration still with no final sale.

What Happened: The Trump administration did not extend the Friday night deadline for the forced sale of TikTok's U.S. assets, following two previous extentions.

But the Treasury Department says it is not taking action as it lets talks continue, according to media reports

The department said in a statement that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is "engaging with ByteDance to complete the divestment."

Why It Matters: The video-sharing social media platform was targeted amid a greater push against Chinese technology companies, out of security and privacy concerns.

Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) last October raised a warning.

"While ByteDance claims TikTok does not operate in China and stores U.S. user data in the U.S., ByteDance is still required to adhere to the laws of China. Importantly, security experts have voiced concern that China's intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party," they said in a press release.

This year, the Trump administration took steps toward banning TikTok, then agreed to allow ByteDance to split off the U.S. business. After talks with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) didn't pan out, a sale to Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) was agreed to. Out of this would come a new independent company called TikTok Global.

TikTok, which has over 100 million U.S. users, said in August in response to the Trump executive order that it "has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request."

Since then, the surge in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., along with a contentious presidential election, has taken attention off the TikTok deal.

What’s Next: The company said it has filed five proposals with the U.S. government to work out any issues, but the deal has yet to be finalized as the country gets closer to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. 

ByteDance also has challenged the government order in U.S. courts, and says authorities in China would also need to approve the deal for it to be finalized.

Gary Anglebrandt contributed to this report.


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