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The US Commerce Department will not immediately enforce Donald Trump’s TikTok ban, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday—the day the order was set to take effect. The move comes two days after parent company ByteDance filed an appeal in federal court asking for more time to make a deal with Oracle.
TikTok owner ByteDance has been looking to sell the popular video-sharing app since President Trump threatened a nationwide embargo, citing concerns about a company based in China having access to US user data. Government lawyers claim user data could fall into the hands of the Communist Party of China—a claim TikTok denies, explaining that it keeps US data stateside, with a backup held in Singapore.
In an effort to save the popular platform from sudden death, Oracle stepped in to acquire a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok Global, with plans to run the social network on Oracle Cloud. TikTok is also working on a commercial partnership with Walmart, which tentatively agreed to purchase 7.5 percent of TikTok Global, with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon serving as one of its five board members.
The Commerce Department’s stay of execution, however, only delays Trump’s directive, which would punish American companies and individuals found doing business with ByteDance. The Beijing-based tech company is still in negotiations with the US government.
Neither TikTok nor the Commerce Department immediately responded to PCMag’s request for comment.
It’s unclear how President-elect Joe Biden will address the situation once he takes office in January. But, as the Journal pointed out, there is bipartisan concern in Congress over potential Chinese data-gathering and surveillance in the US.
Politicians aren’t the only ones worried about privacy: A recent survey by WhistleOut suggests 53 percent of participants believe TikTok spies on its users, and 37 percent think the app should be banned.
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